Bengaluru Buzz: Rains obscure meteor shower | Fresh petitions from Ola, Uber… and more

More in this weekly recap: Cab aggregators file petitions against auto fare notifications; City to get four new traffic police stations.

Potholes back on roads after heavy rains

By December 12th, 11.30 p.m., Cyclone Mandous led to a thunderstorm in Bengaluru and the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) observatory recorded 75 mm of rainfall this December.

For HAL airport, rainfall recorded was 53.4 mm and for Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), it was 67.2 mm. Heavy rains jammed many roads and held up traffic, in Silk Board Junction, Basavanagudi, Queen’s Circle and Sulthanpet Main Road, due to poor drainage.

The continuous showers ruined the roads and brought back potholes again, while recently-built roads also developed potholes. New potholes developed in a recently-laid road near Cantonment Railway Station, in Kazi Bazaar, Nethaji Road, Nagarabhavi, and parts of Mysuru Road.

Even though the BBMP has been white-topping 80 Feet Road in Nagarabhavi, some potholes were filled with mud and gravel by residents, while others were left untouched. Commuters said that the process was too slow and materials used for construction were unattended for three weeks now.

The Karnataka High Court directed the police not to hesitate or avoid registration of FIRs in case a citizen approaches with a complaint of accidents due to potholes. It asked the BBMP to submit details of representations seeking compensation in pothole-related accidents.

Source: Deccan Herald

Overcast weather obscures Geminids Meteor Shower

Heavy rains and overcast weather conditions clouded the Geminids Meteor Shower, which annually peaks in mid-December. ‘A Winter Night at Planetarium’, organised by the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, was supposed to be held on the night of December 13th and the early hours of December 14th, but was cancelled due to cloudy weather.

The meteors are named after the radiant constellation Gemini. They originate from 3,200 Phaethon, an asteroid that takes 1.4 years to orbit the sun. Hesaraghatta and Bannerghatta, on the outskirts of Bengaluru, have low pollution rates, which help people to view the meteor shower more clearly.

Source: Deccan Herald, Deccan Herald, The Indian Express

State fined for delaying polls

The High Court of Karnataka slapped a Rs 5 lakh fine on the state government for delaying delimitation and reservation of seats for zilla and taluk panchayats, violating the constitutional mandate of timely holding of local body elections, in spite of having got enough time. The courts pulled up the state and the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Delimitation Commission. It granted time till February 2023 for the polls.

Meanwhile, following the voters’ list scam, related to the NGO Chilume and some revenue officials at Shivajinagar, Chickpete and Mahadevpura, the BBMP Chief Commissioner, Tushar Giri Nath, who is also the district election officer, made door-to-door visits at the Govindaraja Nagar assembly. He checked the draft voter lists to identify errors and collect information.

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

Protestors for internal reservation detained

Protesters demanding implementation of internal reservation for communities among the Scheduled Castes, according to the Justice A J Sadashiva Commission report, were detained on December 11th. They said that they had gathered near Freedom Park to press for their demands, but the police used force to disperse them, injuring one. However, police officials said that protestors had been taken away in buses, but most were released later.

Read more: For paanwalas of Bengaluru, bribes and eviction threats a constant reality

The Justice A J Sadashiva Inquiry Commission, which looked into methods of equitable distribution of reservation facilities among SCs, recommended internal reservation among the castes by broadly reclassifying all the 101 castes into four groups. The demand for internal reservation had increased after the government increased reservation for SCs from 15% to 17% and for STs from 3% to 7%.

Source: Deccan Herald

Cab aggregators challenge auto fare notification

Transport aggregators Ola and Uber have filed fresh petitions challenging the November 25th fare notification by the transport department on auto-rickshaw cab services. The government had directed transport authorities to fix the ‘service fee’ that aggregators are entitled to charge for services up to 5%.

But the petitioners said that central government guidelines allow up to 20% collection of service fees from the rider. But it does not come within the definition of ‘fare’ and hence, the state government does not get competence of authority under the prevailing rules to regulate the amounts to be charged, said the petitioners. On the other hand, the state government said that central guidelines are only a suggestion, and the fare is fixed in terms of state guidelines in public interest.

However, auto fares were erratic due to heavy rains, in spite of efforts to change meter rates and regulate aggregator fares. The Bengaluru Traffic Police (BTP) tried to penalise auto-rickshaws charging excess fare. This year, BTP has slapped 2,052 cases on autos for demanding excess fare, 15,555 cases for carrying excess passengers, and 1,976 cases for refusing to go on hire. M A Saleem, Special Commissioner (Traffic), said the BTP is trying to open more pre-paid auto counters.

Meanwhile, the transport department’s efforts to permit e-bike taxi operations is being slammed by auto and taxi drivers, who view the taxi business as a threat to their revenue.

Source: Deccan Herald, The Hindu

Read More: 5-rupee breakfast, 10-rupee lunch: How Indira canteens are managing despite slashed budget

G20 Finance Meet

The foreign delegation of finance heads and central bank deputies of G20 visited ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park) at IISc on December 15th. In the programme, organised by HAL Bangalore, ISRO and IISc, G20 delegates visited the campus to explore the deep tech and startup ecosystem. The organisers highlighted the technologies being developed in Indian labs. They also visited Vidhana Soudha, Cubbon Park, and Bangalore Palace.

On December 13th and 14th, the first G20 Finance and Central Bank Deputies meeting dwelt on diverse issues, such as the global economy, working group priorities, debt risks, strengthening Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), financing climate action, global consensus on crypto assets and Sustainable Development goals (SDGs).

There were 184 representatives of central banks and finance deputies from 20 countries and 13 guest countries, including Bangladesh and Nepal, and 17 international institutions, such as World Bank and World Health Organization (WHO).

1st Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting discussed key issues concerning G20 Finance Track on December 14 2022.
1st Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting. Pic: G20org/Twitter

There were discussions on infrastructure, the Working Group 2023, international taxation, global health, strengthening coordination between finance and health ministries for Pandemic Prevention Preparedness and Response (PPR), and encouraging the voice of low-income countries by inviting key regional organisations and a ‘people-centric’ vision.

Meanwhile, police arrested farmers headed towards the G20 summit venue in Devanahalli, for a black flag protest to highlight their issues.

Source: The Indian Express, The Hindu

Four new traffic police stations

The BTP is setting up four new traffic police stations to improve traffic management at the micro level. They will be located at Bellandur and Mahadevapura in East Division, Hennur in North Division, and Talaghattapura in West Division. Two Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) (Traffic) sub-divisions will also be set up at HSR Layout and Vijayanagar.

Source: The Hindu

14 students for 1M1B scheme

The annual One Million For One Billion or 1M1B Activate Impact Summit at the United Nations headquarters was attended by 14 students, from the city, who showcased their impact projects on December 14th at the three-day event held in New York, as part of the flagship ‘Future Leaders’ programme.

1M1B is a Bengaluru-based social innovation and future skills initiative aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It aims to create a new generation of socially conscious leaders to tackle societal issues in a sustainable manner. It is a platform for young changemakers to showcase their projects, from poverty and unemployment to mental health and wage gap and their immense global impact.

Source: The Indian Express

Mitti Cafe run by persons with disabilities

An outlet of Mitti Cafe, operated by persons with disabilities (PwDs), opened outside the Terminal building at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA)–perhaps the first of its kind in any airport in the world.

A 29-year-old entrepreneur, Alina Alam, is the founder and CEO of Mitti Cafe, an NGO with a chain of cafes offering experiential training and employment to adults with physical and intellectual disabilities.

The Mitti Cafe outlets, managed by hundreds of PwDs, have served over 10 million meals since the scheme started in 2017.

Source: The Indian Express, Times of India

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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