Bengaluru Buzz: Baby’s petition for Cubbon Park| Smart roads, finally | Pat for Covid war room … and more

An concerned parent makes his five-month-old child a petitioner for clean air in Cubbon Park, and more. Catch up with what happened in Bengaluru over the week.

Infant seeks traffic-ban in Cubbon Park

A five-month-old infant has petitioned the High Court seeking a ban on vehicular traffic in Cubbon Park. A division bench ordered notices to the state government and other respondents following the plea.

Kian Medhi Kumar, represented by his father, M R Rakesh Prabal Kumar, cited a drastic reduction in air pollution during the lockdown, enforced between March 24 and May 20. The petition said that there was a reduction of suspended particulate matter and carbon monoxide level inside Cubbon Park during that period.

The petition also cited a study by the Indian Instituteof Science’s Department of Transportation Systems Engineering, on overall traffic conditions if Cubbon Park’s thoroughfare is opened. After May 20, access to the park was restricted to walkers, joggers and cyclists at specified times.

This is the second PIL petition seeking a ban on traffic in the park since the lockdown. The earlier one, filed by Cubbon Park Walkers’ Association, was disposed of by the Court on October 22. It also directed the Government to consider the Directorate of Urban Land Transport’s suggestions on keeping the park traffic-free.

Source: Deccan Herald | The New Indian Express | The Hindu

Four smart roads by month-end

Work on four roads, currently being restructured under the Smart City Project, is expected to be completed by the end of the month. They are Raj Bhavan Road, Race Course Road, Nehru Planetarium Road and Hayes Road. Work on 10 other roads will be completed in January 2021, said Gaurav Gupta, BBMP administrator.

After an inspection on Thursday, he directed officials to issue notices and levy penalties on contractors if there is any delay. He said that 36 roads in the Central Business District are being developed as per TenderSURE norms by Bengaluru Smart City Ltd. On many stretches, shifting of utilities was one of the main reasons for the delay, he said.

Source: The New Indian Express

Praise for BBMP’s Covid war room

BBMP has been recognised by the World Economic Forum for setting up a war room to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. The city was among three Indian cities — Surat and Pimpri Chinchwad being the other two — assessed in terms of responsiveness to the pandemic. The use of technology and data governance was also taken into account. 

Researchers noted that local authorities used the ‘COVID-19 War Rooms’ to effectively coordinate and monitor activities of various state and city agencies. Through the war rooms, these cities brought together civil society, local businesses and others on a single platform — through their websites and mobile applications — to collaborate with the city administration.  

Source: The New Indian Express

Trees axed at War Memorial

The High Court has directed the BBMP to forward to the National War Memorial Park Trust an order asking government agencies to approach an expert committee before felling any tree. The court was responding to a petition that alleged that trees were cut down at the National War Memorial Park, without the due process being followed. The BBMP’s counsel said that the civic body had not permitted the felling of any tree, but about 30 eucalyptus trees were axed to facilitate the installation of a MIG-21 aircraft at the park.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Road Development Corporation will remove 431 trees, most of them decades old, to widen the road between Belatturu Bridge and Kannamangala Cross in East Bengaluru taluk. The road will be another bypass to the Kempegowda International Airport. While 355 trees will be cut down, the rest will be transplanted.

Source: Deccan Herald

Testing for UK arrivals

The state government is testing passengers arriving from the United Kingdom to prevent the possible transmission of a new mutated strain of the Sars-CoV-2 virus. Additional Chief Secretary Jawaid Akhtar was quoted as saying that the government was collecting the passenger manifests of all flights from the UK to Karnataka over the last 14 days, to track down the individuals.

A counter will also be set up at the Town Hall on Thursday for UK returnees and their contacts to get tested. 

The government has decided that passengers who test positive will not be allowed home isolation irrespective of symptoms till their genome sequencing is completed. As that is likely to take at least four days, they will be isolated in an institutional isolation facility. The genome sequencing will be done free of cost at four institutes, including the IISc., NIMHANS and NCBS.

Source: Deccan Herald | The New Indian Express | The Hindu

Rail wheel factory’s green switch

Yelahanka will soon breathe cleaner air. The Rail Wheel Factory (formerly, Wheel and Axle Plant) plans to replace its diesel guzzling furnace with a CNG-based unit. The switch is expected to cut carbon emissions by over 80% and fuel cost by nearly 45%. The wheel-making unit, which has supplied rail wheels for the Indian Railways since its inception in 1983, will be shut for six months (from the end of January, 2021) to enable the upgrade. Earlier, the RWF won national recognition for its water conservation efforts.

Source: Deccan Herald

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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