Bengaluru Buzz: I-Day rush | COVID cases again | Educational issues … and more

BMTC sees record ridership on I-day; COVID curve in the city rising; new electric buses and more in this weekly news recap.

I-Day rush on BMTC

On Independence Day, Namma Metro recorded the highest-ever ridership of 8.25 lakh, mainly due to the ‘freedom march’ organised by the Congress, as well as the visitors of the Lalbagh flower show.

BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited) officials said that 4.02 lakh passengers travelled on the Green Line connecting Nagasandra in the northwest to Silk Institute in the southwest; 2.05 lakh on the Purple Line linking Baiyappanahalli in the east with Kengeri in the southwest and over 1.65 lakh using the interchange station at Majestic. BMRCL ran close to 170 trips on Monday, which was more than its normal 135.

At some stations, the crowd was unmanageable and the doors could not be shut as passengers stood at the bay of coaches. More than one lakh tickets were bought by Congress party workers from 16 districts. Heavy rush was observed at Kengeri, Nagasandra, Byappanahalli, National College, Vidhana Soudha, Lalbagh and Majestic.

After the Flower Show, Lalbagh was filled with paper, plastic waste and garbage dumps, even though it had earlier announced that it would be litter-free. Officials said that they had close to 1.5 lakh visitors on Sunday, and nearly 3.5 lakh on Monday. Hence, they could not conduct proper checks.

Taking down flags to either store or dispose of them is also a tricky issue, as there are codified rules for the same. Damaged flags can be destroyed by burning or any other method in consonance with their dignity. But flags to be buried need to be collected in a wooden box.

Source: Indian Express, Deccan Herald

Read more: ‘Not plastic’, but Bengaluru will now grapple with discarded polyester flags post Independence Day

Hearing on BBMP poll petitions delayed

The High Court of Karnataka Wednesday adjourned hearing on petitions challenging BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) ward delimitation until August 29th. It ruled that petitioners challenging the ward delimitation need to get clarity from the Supreme Court regarding postponement of the elections. Currently, seven PILs (public interest litigations) have been filed against the delimitation exercise in 243 wards, protesting the “unscientific delimitation exercise”.

The bench noted that two different Supreme Court judgements hold contrasting views on the issue.

Source: Deccan Herald, The Indian Express

COVID cases resurface

About 19 COVID clusters were found in the Mahadevapura zone and two in the West zone of the city. On Monday, 6,951 active cases were recorded. The weekly positivity rate is 6.59%. Many private hospitals have reopened COVID isolation facilities. Though hospitalisation numbers are still quite low, the state Health Department plans to ensure sufficient beds in case of a surge.

Manipal Hospital admits at least two or three cases a day, mostly from high-risk categories like post-transplant patients or those with comorbidities. Sources said that they admit only those who require oxygen, while among patients with comorbidities, they see more lung involvement than in earlier cases. Whitefield hospital has six COVID patients on oxygen support, while the three Apollo Hospitals have 10 to 25 COVID cases at any given time.

Source: The Indian Express, Deccan Herald

75 electric buses launched

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai launched 75 electric buses of the BMTC (Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation) that began to operate from Monday. Made by Switch Mobility, the buses are part of the Centre’s FAME-II scheme. The non-AC buses have a seating capacity of 40+1, consisting of electrically operated wheelchair mechanisms.

Picture of CM Bommai flagging off 75 new electric buses.
CM Bommai flags off 75 electric buses. Pic: Facebook/Araga Jnanendra (Min of Home Dept)

The buses are plying on trunk routes and in areas with high-density populations connecting major landmarks, including Majestic, Yelahanka, Kengeri and others. Among the 300 electric buses, 120 each from Yelahanka and Attibele and 60 buses from the Bidadi depots will be operated. The buses are expected to operate for 150 kms on a single charge, while the remaining 75 kms will be covered with quick charging at a facility in Majestic. The same quick charging facility will be further extended to stations at Kengeri, Central Silk Board and Yeshwantpur.

Source: The Indian Express

Read more: Guide to setting up Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in your community

Ideological issues at schools

Education Minister B C Nagesh said that Ganesha Chaturthi can be celebrated in schools and colleges as it has been every year. The proposal was called ‘hypocritical’ and unfair by the Campus Front of India (CFI), the student wing of the Popular Front of India. The CFI asked why the government permits Ganesh Chaturthi but opposes wearing the hijab in classrooms, which would hurt the sentiments of religious communities. An appeal against the hijab order given by the High Court is pending in the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the government issued an order mandating all schools and pre-university colleges to make students sing the National Anthem every morning, following complaints received by B C Nagesh against three elite schools – St Joseph’s Boys’ High School, Bishop Cotton Boys’ High School and Baldwin Girls’ High School. The order applies to all schools (government, aided and unaided) and PU colleges. Earlier, Nagesh had ordered “necessary action” against the schools, citing a 2016 order of the Ministry of Home Affairs requiring schools to instill “nationalism” by making students sing the National Anthem.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Textbooks Society (KTBS), headed by Rohit Chakrathirtha, has uploaded on its website the soft copy of the errata, or booklet with re-revised portions from revised textbooks of Classes 6-10 and Kannada textbooks of Classes 1-10. They will be printed and circulated to 70,000 schools by the first week of September. While one booklet each will be issued to each school, teachers need to ask students to include a missing line or word or corrections approved. While printing for the next academic year, the corrections will be included, said sources.

Source: The Indian Express, Deccan Herald, The New Indian Express

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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