Bengaluru Buzz: COVID-19 cases on the rise | BBMP schools in poor condition … and more

Other news of the week: Court mandates children helmet use, SIT on BBMP works dissolved, headmistress suspended for students cleaning toilets.

Bengaluru sees 30 COVID-19 cases in 2 days

The state government has constituted a four-member cabinet sub-committee, headed by state Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, to monitor the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. The other three ministers in the panel are Social Welfare Minister Dr H C Mahadevappa, Medical Education Minister Dr Sharan Prakash Patil, and Higher Education Minister Dr M C Sudhakar.

The state reported 24 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, according to the latest update from the Union Health Ministry. The total number of active cases has risen to 105. 

Bengaluru restaurants are enforcing mask mandates and entry restrictions. Some pubs are adopting a wait-and-watch approach, planning to enforce stricter measures during the festive season.

The Associated Managements of Primary & Secondary Schools in Karnataka (KAMS) has also issued an advisory as a precautionary measure. KAMS has urged schools to not allow ill students from attending classes. Schools have been asked to regularly check temperature, sanitise school areas, and require students to wear masks. Some schools have started taking temperature readings. As per the advisory, students who feel unwell while at school must be sent to an isolation room, given first aid and the parents must be notified.

Source: Times of India, Deccan Herald, Hindustan Times 

Two women wearing masks
Face masks are essential to protect oneself from COVID-19. Pic: Wikimedia/TazaaKhabar (CC BY-NC 4.0)

BBMP needs more staff for SWD encroachment survey 

The BBMP has decided to write to the Department of Survey, Settlement and Land Records requesting it to deploy more staff to carry out surveys of encroachment of stormwater drains and lakes in the city. Chief BBMP Commissioner, Tushar Giri Nath, held a review meeting on clearing encroachments of stormwater drains and lakes.

According to the data shared during the meeting, of the 3,176 encroachments identified along stormwater drains, the BBMP has cleared 2,322. The clearing of 854 encroachments is pending and 155 cases are still pending in the courts.

The BBMP began the process of issuing demolition orders in 487 cases. In 162 encroachments, tahsildars have issued orders for removal. The BBMP will be implementing the orders soon.

Over the last two weeks, the BBMP has removed 75 stormwater drain encroachments in Mahadevapura, KR Puram, Yelahanka, and Bommanahalli. The drive will continue in the coming days.

Source: The Hindu 

Survey finds 19 BBMP schools in poor condition 

A recent survey by the BBMP’s Quality Assurance Cell shows that 19 schools and colleges, run by the corporation across the city, are in appalling conditions.

The survey was done following the collapse of a 50-year-old nursery school in Shivajinagar on November 27th. This incident revealed urgent and wide-ranging issues to be addressed, from multiple cracks in the walls to leakages on rooftops during the rain, and inadequate maintenance.

The survey identifies the 19 institutions as “unstable,” and so are unsafe for continued use. The report, prepared in consultation with school headmasters, recommends the demolition of these dilapidated structures “as early as possible”.

Besides the 19 institutions functioning in dilapidated structures, the report draws attention to 67 schools in need of repairs and maintenance, with some facing overcrowding issues due to insufficient classroom capacities. The heads of these institutions are requesting additional buildings to accommodate more students.

Source: Deccan Herald 

Read more: Utilise treated wastewater: Bengaluru’s first water balance report

Court issues notice for children to wear helmets

The High Court of Karnataka has ordered the issue of notice to the State government on a PIL petition seeking directions to the authorities to implement the new rules that mandates a motorcycle rider to ensure that a child between the ages of nine months and four years, riding pillion, has to wear a crash helmet and safety harness compulsorily.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B. Varale and Justice Krishna S. Dixit passed the order on the petition filed by Archana Bhat K, an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology, in a private medical college in Shivamogga.

Safety measures for children were introduced through Section 138 (7) of the Central Motor Vehicle (Second Amendment Rules ) 2022, which was notified on February 15, 2022, under Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act. As per the notification, the new rules would come into force one year after its notification. 

Source: The Hindu 

School headmistress suspended for ‘forcing students to clean toilet’

The headmistress of Government Model Higher Primary School at Andrahalli in North Bengaluru was suspended after students were allegedly forced to clean the school toilet.

Karnataka School Education Minister Madhu Bangarappa condemned the incident and promised measures to ensure that such incidents do not recur in schools.

After the matter came to light on December 22nd, the Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI-North) issued a government order in the afternoon initiating disciplinary action against the headmistress, Lakshmidevamma, for dereliction of duty and suspending her.

After parents staged a protest outside the school, the Block Education Officer (BEO) and police officials visited the school. The BEO held a discussion with parents, school authorities and the students and it was revealed that the children were made to clean toilets on the orders of the headmistress. Following a report submitted by the education authorities, the DDPI suspended the headmistress.

Source: The Indian Express 

State govt dissolves special investigation team on BBMP works 

The state government dissolved the special investigation team on BBMP works. The move comes just two weeks after one of the four teams submitted its interim report that found “prosecutable” evidence against the BBMP’s top brass. The remaining three teams hadn’t started their work.

The order, issued by the urban development department on December 15th, officially withdrew all powers entrusted to the four teams, headed by IAS officers and assisted by retired engineers. The government has directed the now-dissolved SIT to submit all files, records and information it collected as a part of the probe to the one-man commission. 

Of the four teams probing the BBMP works, only one team had made progress in its investigations. The team headed by Amlan Aditya Biswas had made considerable progress in the investigation into road works. However, the other three teams — probing solid waste management (Ujwal Ghosh), stormwater drains (P C Jaffer) and ward works (R Vishal) — did not start work, citing multiple reasons, including manpower shortage.

Source: Deccan Herald 

(Compiled by Harshitha Padmavinod)

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