Bengaluru Buzz: Metro reopening | Rooftop solar mapping tool | BBMP election may be postponed…and more

COVID rules on travelling in Namma Metro, tool for citizens to assess rooftop solar potential of their homes, government to approach court seeking BBMP election postponement - catch up on news over the week in our roundup.

Rules for travel in Namma Metro

As Namma Metro services are set to resume on September 7, the BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd) has drawn up an SoP (Standard Operating Procedure) for using the services. The number of commuters in each train is limited to 400. Not more than 50 passengers will be allowed to enter stations, except in terminals and interchange stations.

Masks are mandatory. Passengers have been advised to use alternate steps on escalators. Only four to six passengers will be allowed to use lifts and they have to stand on foot-mark stickers. There will be yellow retro-reflective tapes on platforms and other areas.

The rule on alternate seats should be followed in the Metro, and passengers will be allowed to stand only on locations marked with yellow strips. The temperature in trains and underground stations will be maintained in the 24-28 degree Celsius range.

BMRCL will not open the entry/exit gates of Metro stations falling within containment zones. The public will have to find the next nearest station.

BMRCL will also introduce an app for commuters to top up their smart cards, which will be available to download on September 7. BMRCL has advised passengers to ensure their smart cards have sufficient balance, and to top up their cards an hour before entering the stations.

Source: The Hindu | Deccan Herald

No need to panic, says BBMP, amid rising COVID cases

Bengaluru’s daily COVID count has exceeded 3,000 five times, and four of those times have been in the last eight days. These figures come amid what’s described as the second surge in cases in the state, starting August 27.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said more COVID-19 cases had been reported in August compared to July, but that more tests make it easy to separate the patients and treat them. He said the case numbers will reduce in the coming months. As on September 2, 39,911 COVID cases were active in the city. While 1.35 lakh cases have been recorded cumulatively in the city, 93,563 people have recovered, according to the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services.

Meanwhile, the footfall in religious establishments has increased, but the administration has emphasised social distancing and hygiene among devotees.

Source: Deccan Herald | Indian Express | The Times of India

Consumers can assess their rooftop solar potential

CSTEP’s Rooftop Evaluation of Solar Tool (CREST), was launched virtually, enabling consumers to assess their rooftop’s potential to generate solar energy, for their own consumption and to supply additional power to the Bescom (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company) grid. The LIDAR-based project maps minute details of the rooftop, including the cost of setting up the solar panels.

Bengaluru has been lagging in solar rooftop generation due to citizens’ inhibitions about high costs, lack of information on whether the rooftop is viable, etc. CREST is expected to accelerate the rooftop plan, and hence resolve a lot of problems in power supply.

Source: The Hindu

Office leasing down by 60%

Office leasing activities were down by more than 60% in the first half of 2020 compared to the corresponding period in 2019, said a report by realty market research firm Savills India. The demand dipped to 3.3 million sq ft of office space compared to 8.5 million sq ft in the first half of 2019. This is due to business uncertainty during the lockdown.

About 75% of the overall city-wide space absorption is concentrated across East Bengaluru, Whitefield, Brookefield, and Outer Ring Road areas.

Source: The Hindu

BBMP wards may be increased, election postponed

The state government may approach the High Court to seek extension of time for holding elections to the BBMP, as it is considering increasing the number of wards. Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy said the government might increase the number of wards from 198 to 225. It might also increase the number of zones from eight to 15.

Source: The Hindu | Deccan Herald

Private transport operators protest

About 20 organisations and unions of private transport operators/drivers will protest at Chalukya Circle on Saturday from 9.30 am to 6 pm. They accuse the state of not coming to their rescue during the pandemic, even though the private transport sector is paying Rs 3,200 crore tax per year.

The organisations point out that when business has come to a halt since March, the Transport Minister only assisted the state road transport corporations and completely ignored the private sector. They also accuse the Transport Department of harassing operators for bribes.

Source: The Hindu

NLSIU to hold online entrance test

The NLSIU (National Law School of India University) will conduct its own entrance test for admissions to its BA, LLB and LLM programmes for 2020-21. The admissions will not be based on the CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) this year. Instead, NLSIU will hold the NLAT (National Law Aptitude Test), an online home test, on September 12.

The RGUHS (Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences) has decided to postpone MBBS examinations that were scheduled to be held in September, following requests by students’ association in view of COVID-19.

Source: Indian Express | The Hindu

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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