Bengaluru Buzz: I-Day plans in city | Petitions against ward delimitation | Idgah row … and more

Free BMTC services on August 15th, Court notice to state over petitions against ward delimitation: catch these and other highlights of the week.

Gearing up for 75th I-Day

The government is paving the way for the 75th Independence Day celebrations at Field Marshal Manekshaw Parade Ground, in which a hundred COVID-19 warriors, including healthcare professionals, frontline workers and 25 recovered patients are special invitees. To celebrate the silver jubilee of the BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation), it has decided to give free services of all types of buses on Independence Day. 

Meanwhile, authorities scramble to meet their flag sales targets two days before the Har Ghar Tiranga programme. The BBMP has been asked to sell 15 lakh machine-made polyester national flags, each for Rs 22, while post offices have also been given sales targets. The BJP aims to sell 10 lakh flags from its headquarters. But the BBMP (administration) Special Commissioner and Har Ghar Tiranga campaign Nodal Officer Rangappa said that BBMP has met 90% of its target to sell 10 lakh tricolours in eight zones.

Each subdivision, or three to four wards, has to sell 4,000 flags. The BBMP is pushing them to resident welfare associations and also including pourakarmikas for the sales. But many buyers are complaining that the flags are defective and of poor quality. One resident said that mail carriers had also been given targets, and were selling substandard flags.

Source: The Hindu, Deccan Herald

HC notice over objections to ward delimitation

Many Congress MLAs stormed the Secretariat to protest against the BBMP (Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) delimitation quota break-up., which they say favours the BJP. They are threatening to take legal action.

On Wednesday, the High Court ordered issue of notice to the State due to a batch of petitions filed to challenge the correctness of the delimitation of 243 wards. The notification splits wards into multiple portions, falling within the physical boundaries of other constituencies, said one petition. The UDD (Urban Development Department) has received over 2,000 objections. It will publish the final draft in seven days.

The petitions accused the splitting of being arbitrary, impractical and irrational. Citizens have to travel long distances for basic requirements and public participation, which creates hurdles for administration of the ward as well. The delimitation exercise, based on population data from the 2011 census, is also outdated and inaccurate, due to the population increase by over 61% since 2011. Another petitioner said that the delimitation had the motive of securing the upper hand for the BJP’s win in elections. Congress leaders had accused the UDD of being a puppet at the hands of the BJP government as many winnable and sitting corporators’ wards were reserved for women or Scheduled Castes.

Source: The Indian Express, The Hindu, The New Indian Express

Read More: BBMP ward delimitation finalised: Over 3800 objections received, most rejected

Riots report expected shortly

In the next two months, the Claims Commission, appointed by the Karnataka High Court to probe into the K G Halli and DJ Halli riots, might submit the record of statements of 116 people. Two years ago on August 11, 2020, citizens who lost property, valuables, and vehicles may get compensation for their damages.

The riots, in protest against an alleged offensive FB post, torched the KG Halli and DJ Halli police stations, hundreds of vehicles, and many buildings in East Bengaluru. Many claimed to have lost gold and silver jewellery, cash, and reported damages to refrigerators, television sets, electrical appliances, and household articles.

Claims Commission sources said that they have recorded all the 90 claimants along with the Motor Vehicles Inspectors who assessed the damages to vehicles, property assessors who determined the amount of damages and 16 police officers. The damages go up to Rs 4.49 crore, but officials said the claimants may not receive the same amount as compensation.

Source: Deccan Herald

Read More: Communal riots aren’t new to Bengaluru. Here’s what a history of riots says about the city

No school uniforms even after three months

Students of government state schools are yet to receive their uniforms, shoes, and socks, even after three months of the new academic year, with schools opening on May 16. Students may have to wait even longer as officials in the education department said that two new sets of uniforms may reach them only after two months.

school children sitting in a government school
Representative image. Government schoolchildren. Pic: Ankush Raj/Wikipedia

While the government had allocated Rs 132 crore for shoes and socks, school officials said that their bank accounts have not received the money. However, the authorities have allocated quotations to vendors who are taking the measurements of students. They are currently managing with either colour dress or the previous year’s ill-fitting uniforms. As pointed out by the teacher of a government school in Bengaluru, most students studying in these schools cannot afford to get the uniforms stitched at their own expense. An NGO has agreed to buy uniforms for a school in the city.

Source: The Indian Express

Flag hoisting at controversial Idgah Maidan

The State government has directed the Assistant Commissioner of Bengaluru North to hoist the national flag and celebrate at Idgah Maidan in Chamarajpet. The Revenue Minister, R Ashok, said the Revenue Department was the owner of the Maidan and would decide on allowing any activity, including Ganesha festival. Everyone can participate, but only elected representatives would be allowed to share the dais. No shouting of religious slogans would be allowed.

Police had organised peace meetings with Hindu groups, including the Sanathana Parishad, Srirama Sene and Chamarajapet Nagarikara Okkoota, as well as Muslim leaders, to resolve the confusion and strife over the ownership of Idgah grounds. The BBMP had affirmed that it belonged to the Revenue Department, so R Ashoka had said that anyone planning to host any event would have to seek their permission.

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

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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