Bengaluru Buzz: MLC polls | Vegetable prices soar | 8 lakes to be developed…and more

The prices of many vegetables have crossed Rs 100/kg, but those of greens is reducing. Catch up on more news from the city in our weekly roundup.

MLC polls

Polling for two Legislative Council seats – one each from Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural districts – was held on Friday. Overall, the biennial elections are being held in 25 seats across the state, with 90 candidates in the fray. Results will be declared on December 14.

With declared assets of Rs 1,744 crore, Yousuf Sharief, Congress candidate from Bengaluru Urban, is the richest candidate in the state. There is no expenditure limit for candidates in this election, unlike in case of assembly and Lok Sabha polls.

Source: The Times of India,, The New Indian Express

Vegetable prices cross Rs 100/kg

Prices of vegetables have soared over the past fortnight due to untimely, heavy rains along with drop in supplies. At least seven staple vegetables, including tomatoes, beans and garlic, have crossed the Rs 100/kg mark. Even cheaper vegetables like radish, carrot, beetroot and several gourds are inching towards the Rs 100 mark. A kilo of radish is retailing at Rs 90, carrots cost Rs 92, beetroot Rs 70, and bitter gourd Rs 75.

Though onions and potatoes are cheaper, the quality of onions is poor, much of it wet and sprouted. The prices of most greens, including coriander that had overshot the Rs 100 mark, has reduced now since the crop cycle of greens is short and their supply has improved since rains.

Source: The Hindu

Read More: Bengaluru’s composting fairs show how easy it is to grow your own vegetables

Traces of coronavirus in wastewater: Survey

A wastewater survey in many parts of the city found traces of the novel coronavirus, which indicate the presence of active but undiagnosed cases or non-infectious cases still shedding the microbe. At least 20 sites showed that the viral load increased by 40% or more since last week, or 25% or more in the past fortnight. For a week from November 28, 31% of the samples tested positive, compared to 16% in the week starting November 21. BBMP said it would ramp up testing and check for increase in positive cases, if a similar trend is found over two months.

The surveillance was done by the initiative Precision Help, by testing 90 samples from 45 sites twice a week.

Source: Deccan Herald

COVID testing hassles foreign arrivals

RT-PCR testing of all foreign arrivals at airports is mandatory now, but those arriving at the Kempegowda International Airport complain of long waits and problems with data connectivity on mobile phones. A mobile phone with a working internet connection is essential to test, download the results and get clearance to leave. Many rely on the kindness of airport staff and fellow passengers to get tests done and access their results.

Till Wednesday, passengers were provided two options – a rapid test costing Rs 3,900 for which results would be available in an hour, or a slower test costing Rs 500 for which results would take about five hours. Most opted for the rapid test though only one diagnostic firm offered it. None from ‘at-risk countries’ tested since December 1 have been COVID-positive.

Source: The Indian Express

Precautions against Omicron

On Thursday, the state government decided to focus on cluster management and issue fresh guidelines to hostels to control the spread of COVID infections. If there are more than three positive cases in a place, it will be declared a cluster. However, experts have suggested that curbs like night curfew, restrictions on mass gatherings or people’s movement should not be imposed, as the situation in the city is not severe. Schools and colleges would not be closed.

Disinfectants were sprayed on the road and footpath at Ambedkar Veedhi in front of Vidhana Soudha, as a precaution.

Meanwhile, since the Centre is considering a third dose of vaccination, the state government is mulling over tapping unused vaccine stock in private hospitals. One option for the government is to buy back doses or pay hospitals, so that vaccines can be given to people free of cost.

BBMP has formed 430 special teams to track 7.66 lakh people who have not taken their first vaccine dose. As many as 12.4 lakh are yet to take the second dose, even as their deadline expired. The health department is contacting them over phone and asking them to get vaccinated. BBMP has directed mall owners to check vaccination certificates and to set up immunisation sites. BBMP has already set up vaccination sites at various malls.

vaccination representational image
BBMP is ramping up its vaccine drive. Representational image

Meanwhile, the 46-year-old doctor infected with the Omicron variant continues to test COVID-positive. He has no symptoms and is currently in isolation at the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital.

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

Auto fares may increase in Jan with GST

Autorickshaws booked through ride-hailing apps like Ola and Uber will be costlier from January 1 after the union government imposes 5% GST. Other autorickshaws will not come under the GST ambit. Centre’s announcement comes days auto fares in Bengaluru were hiked by 15 to 20%.

Peace Auto, an association of auto drivers, said 50% of drivers get their daily rides through Ola and Uber. Drivers rued that their earnings had plummeted due to COVID but the government now wants 5% cut from their earnings. They urged the government to withdraw the tax.

Source: Deccan Herald

Read more: Shared-auto system in Bengaluru: Much-needed but ignored

BBMP plans to develop eight lakes

BBMP plans to comprehensively develop eight polluted lakes using grants of Rs 42 crore from the 15th Finance Commission. These include Vengaianha kere in KR Puram (Rs 8 crore), Hulimavu lake (Rs 8 cr), Nayandahalli lake (Rs 7.5 cr), Kaigondanahalli lake (Rs 4.85 cr), Amruthahalli lake (Rs 4 cr) and Kengeri lake (Rs 4 cr). Rs 2.66 cr has been set aside for improving the wetlands at Rachenahalli lake, and another Rs 2.84 crore for building a sewage treatment plant and inlet at Benniganahalli lake.

However, V Ramaprasad, the convener of Friends of Lakes, complained that grants are being repeatedly used for the same set of lakes.

Source: Deccan Herald

Terminated workers protest protest at ITI office

About 130 contractual employees of the public sector undertaking ITI (Indian Telephone Industries Limited) are agitating outside its headquarters at KR Puram, after they were terminated from service on Wednesday morning. Workers said they were terminated because they had formed a union and filed disputes against the management. They had been working here for five to 35 years.

Source: The Indian Express

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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