Bengaluru Buzz: Prez nod for Good Samaritan Bill | 72 lakh vehicles on B’luru roads | 52nd Mayor elected

Catch up on all that you may have missed last week: Bengaluru has a new Mayor, Good Samaritans now have law on their side, and a sudden spurt of H1N1 in the air.

Karnataka first state to pass Good Samaritan Bill

The Karnataka Good Samaritan and Medical Professional (Protection and Regulation during Emergency Situations) Bill 2016 has finally got President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent for implementation in the state. Home ministry officials confirmed the news to the media on Sunday. The act relieves citizens who act as ‘Good Samaritans’ during road-accidents, providing timely help to victims, from all legal obligations including appearances at police stations or courts. Bystanders to accidents don’t need to produce identity proof at the hospital and can withhold consent to act as witnesses, thus preventing harassment for the good deed done voluntarily.

The bill was passed during an assembly session in Belagavi in 2016 after it was drafted by the state’s health ministry. It was thus forwarded to the President who gave the nod last week.

As evidenced by the number of road accidents in Karnataka recorded by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2015, which had as many as 44,011 accidents, the Good Samaritan bill is the need of the hour in Karnataka to support both victims and helpful bystanders. 

Source: The Economic Times | The New Indian Express | The Hindu | NDTV

Women emerge victorious as Mayor and Deputy Mayor

On September 28, Gangambike Mallikarjun, formerly the Congress corporator of Jayanagar ward, was elected to the post of  the 52nd Mayor of Bengaluru. She secured 130 votes in an electoral college consisting of  259 votes. The other 129 votes went to Ramila Umashankar from JD(S). Earlier during the day the BJP corporators protested and created a frenzy outside the council hall, threatening to boycott the election on the grounds of being unfair.

BBMP Opposition leader Padmanabha Reddy submitted a letter to the regional Election Commissioner stating that Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Raghu Achar, C K Manohar and V S Ugrappa hold voter IDs from two locations. BJP leader Ashwath Narayan told NDTV that the party had written to the Election Commission pointing out that four MLCs were not eligible to be on the electoral roll as they were not residents of the city.

Unperturbed, the next day on September 29th, the newly elected Mayor made her first round of the city. She went to KR market and spoke to vendors about segregation, particularly pointing out that the usage of plastic covers was banned. Gangambike Mallikarjun told The Hindu in an interview that she would actively encourage segregation at source during her tenure. Her other top priority is to mitigate potential floods caused by rainfall expected in October.

She also opposed the construction of a separate bungalow for the Mayor similar to the CM’s residence, for which Rs 5 crore had been allotted in the BBMP budget earlier in March.

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

Officials on high alert: H1N1 cases detected in city

State Health and Family Welfare Department recorded 55 cases of H1N1 influenza within BBMP limits and 102 in all in the state of Karnataka in the month of September alone. Shivamogga, Hassan, Mysuru and Dakshina Kannada are among the other districts affected.

Officials say there is no cause for alarm as doctors have learnt to deal with it since the first outbreak in 2009, and point out that the number is far less compared to the 3260 cases found positive last year in Karnataka.  The fluctuating weather conditions are responsible for the sudden rise in September, as there weret only 39 cases reported till August.

State Health Director S Puspharaj has sent out a circular to districts instructing them to check the spread of the virus on war-footing and to hand out free Tami Flu tablets. The symptoms are almost identical to the common flu and it is tested through a throat swab test.

Source: The Times of India | The Hindu

Vehicle population in state touches record high of 2 crore!

In the absence of a well-connected mass transport system, more and more private vehicles are entering the city’s roads and causing congestion. According to this news report, the number of vehicles in Karnataka grew from 82.9 lakh in 2008 to a whopping 1.99 crore in 2018 up to July. Of these, two wheelers make up a majority of the statistic at 1.4 crore, and cars accounting for 23.7 lakh.

In Bengaluru Urban District alone, 72 lakh vehicles are registered, Belagavi transport division recorded 35.7 lakh vehicles, and Chikkamagaluru district division recorded 29.9 lakh vehicles. Meanwhile, the government is also exploring a possible alternative by encouraging  the usage of Electric Vehicles (EVs) that cost more but are eco-friendly. BESCOM has invited tenders to set up 11 charging stations even after the poor response to the charging station at BESCOM’s KR Circle headquarters.

Source: The Times of India | The Hindu

[Compiled by Seema Prasad]

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