Bengaluru Buzz: Stalled BBMP works to resume| Carpooling welcomed, but no commercial use… and more

Other news of the week: Protests for Press Freedom, mobile bus stops for women and Cubbon Park walkers protest against vehicles.

Stalled BBMP works to resume

Civic stalled works in the city will be resumed, according to the directives by the Deputy Chief Minister and Bengaluru Development Minister D K Shivakumar. Broken roads will be repaired while stalled projects, including overflowing rajakaluves, will be fixed.

The incomplete works were paused four months ago, due to a pending inquiry by a government-constituted team of IAS officers. Partial payments to contractors and up to 75% of the bills are being cleared, but the special investigation team (SIT) will continue with its investigation. The previous government had sanctioned 353 works costing over Rs 5,000 crore. Although the government has not announced new programmes, it has assured Rs 40-crore grant to every Congress legislator, as they had not received funds from the earlier government.

Source: The Hindu, Deccan Herald

Minister welcomes carpooling, but not for commercial purposes

Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy met representatives of the carpool company Quick Ride on October 3rd and welcomed the practice, but said that it should not be for commercial purposes. He added that a relevant framework will be developed with legal consultation and a study of the Centre’s Motor Vehicle Aggregators Guidelines, 2020.

Sources from Quick Ride said that more than 13 lakh people have registered for carpooling in the last eight years. More than 90% are IT professionals. The practice is appreciated for decongesting traffic and being cost-effective.

Meanwhile. commuters are anxious and uncertain about carpooling, as they consider that it is against the fundamental concept of the practice to have one driver sharing a ride with a commuter in the same direction or destination. They have asked why the state’s transport department should direct what the Bengaluru Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA) needs to do.

Source: Indian Express, Deccan Herald

Read more: Urban designers must first answer the question, whose city is it anyway: Mathew Idiculla

Protests for press freedom at Freedom Park

Civil society activists, students, lawyers, journalists, and several civic groups protested at Freedom Park against the unlawful raids on NewsClick, an English news portal. The protest call was issued by the All India Lawyers Association for Justice (AILAJ), All India Students Association (AISA), Bahutva Karnataka, DIGIPUB, the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

They sought accountability from the Delhi police and the government and demanded that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) be revoked, releasing all prisoners arrested under the act.

Protests at Freedom Park against
Protest at Freedom Park against unlawful raids on NewsClick. Pic courtesy: Twitter/KarnatakaPUCL

On October 4th, the Press Club of Bengaluru had sought an unbiased and fast-tracked investigation. Its Executive Committee said independent media seeking accountability has always been the foundation of democracy. NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and HR head Amit Chakraborty had been charged under UAPA following allegations that they had received money for pro-China propaganda.

A lawyer representing the All-India Lawyers Association for Justice said that instead of working towards a welfare state, this government is curbing fundamental rights.  

Source: Deccan Herald, The Hindu

Read more: Right to protest: Citizens demand freedom from Freedom Park

Mobile bus stops for women

A women’s collective, Alli Serona, started its tour of mobile bus stops to highlight the need to establish bus stops in less accessible areas. The mobile bus stop installation has been co-created by women in the informal sector. The team will tour four areas: Hosa Nagar, Seegehalli, AKG area and Byrasandra.

The mobile bus stop will first be placed behind Baiyappanahalli Metro Station, Hosa Nagar, from October 5th-7th. It will then shift to Seegehalli and Priyanka Nagar from October 9th-10th, AKG area from October 16th-18th, and Byrasandra from October 20th-21st.

It will travel through these routes to address gaps in accessibility and connectivity. It will be the symbol for informal women’s voices demanding connection to the grid through a bus stop. The wooden, scaled-down version of a typical bus stop will have a ticket counter, seating arrangements, shared space and a newsstand.

Women and children holding mangoes
Representative image of women’s mobile stop. Pic courtesy: Facebook/Bengaluru Moving

This will be the city’s first collapsible and mobile bus stop, demonstrating how the transportation needs of women in the informal sector can be met. Alli Serona has been a platform for women to meet, discuss mobility needs, and co-create solutions.

Source: Indian Express, Bangalore Mirror

Cubbon Park walkers’ protest

On October 4th, members of the Cubbon Park Walkers Association (CPWA) conducted a silent protest vigil, brief march and raising of slogans against traffic in Cubbon Park. The Horticulture Department might allow vehicles into Cubbon park on restricted days such as Sundays and alternate Saturdays.

The protestors, which included environmentalists, CPWA members and Kannada actresses Prema and Sonika Gowda, carried placards with slogans such as “Save Trees” and “Save Cubbon Park”. They said: “We don’t want vehicles, Cubbon Park is ours.” However, by 8 am, vehicles entered the park.

Sources said that the government plans to implement the order in a week or so. It also entails creating parking space from the Bal Bhavan gate to the Maharaja statue.

Source: Indian Express, Deccan Herald

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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