Bengaluru Buzz: City among top COVID hubs | Buses for essential service providers | Food supply to migrants…and more

Bengaluru has been declared as a COVID-19 hotspot, and it's dealing with several issues - food supply to migrant labourers, vehicles on the road despite lockdown, and even abandoned animals in pet shops. Read more in our weekly roundup.

Bengaluru Urban among top 25 COVID hotspots

Bengaluru Urban and Mysuru are among the top 25 COVID-19 hotspots in the country, whereas Chickballapur is fast emerging as one over the last fortnight. Bengaluru was also among the top seven cities with a high case load as of March 30. These observations were made by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in its ‘COVID-19 Status Health Report’.

The report also mentioned that Victoria Hospital was being developed as a dedicated COVID-19 facility with 1,200 isolation beds, 15 ICU beds, and 20 ventilators. V Ravi, senior professor at NIMHANS said that the high number of confirmed cases in the city was due to the influx of foreign passengers as well as efficient contact tracing.

Source: The Hindu

Shortfall in food supply for migrant labourers

Even though municipal authorities are mobilising tonnes of food supplies to feed 85,000 migrant workers, there is a regular shortfall in supply. As a result, thousands are going hungry. A Department of Labour survey shows that migrant labourers stay at 439 locations in the city, many at construction sites. BBMP has asked its zonal joint commissioners for further verification of these numbers and sites.

Feeding 85,000 migrants three meals a day means 2,55,000 meals are required daily to feed all identified construction labourers. Labour Department said it is doling out nearly one lakh meals per day (in two servings – lunch and dinner, but no breakfast), while BBMP said it has been doling out 40,000 meals per day since the last two days. This has been augmented by 16 NGOs working in cooperation with BBMP, who are handing out an additional 48,000 to 52,000 meals per day. But this still leaves a deficit of 63,000 meals per day.

Source: Deccan Herald

BMTC operates 160 buses for essential service providers

The BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) is operating 160 buses during the lockdown to help thousands provide essential services. Everyday, almost 9,000 people working in the health sector and various civic agencies, employees of banks and petrol bunks, and police personnel use these buses. Blood donors and people visiting hospitals are also allowed to use the service.

Police has issued about 70,000 passes manually and 10,000 passes electronically to allow essential service providers to operate smoothly. The passes are valid for 12 hours for those who want to visit hospitals due to medical emergencies. These passes are available in all law and order police stations. Citizens can get them by depositing original identity proof; they can later return the passes and collect their documents.

Meanwhile, Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner G N Shivamurthy said that residents of paying guest accommodations and working women’s hostels should not be evicted. In another release, the deputy commissioner asked the people working in essential services sectors to return to work or else face action. Continuous supply of medicines, medical equipment and hand sanitisers is critical, hence people employed in these industries should come to work, he said.

Source: The Hindu | Deccan Herald

Vehicles on road seized

On Wednesday, the police seized over 5,000 vehicles and booked motorists for allegedly “misusing the leniency shown to them to buy essentials”. Owners will be able to collect their vehicles only after the lockdown is lifted. This comes in the wake of the government being criticised for not enforcing the lockdown strictly in Bengaluru.

Police had warned that all two-wheelers and four-wheelers on the roads, which have been banned till April 14, would be seized during the 21-day nationwide lockdown. DG&IGP Praveen Sood tweeted, “This is not an April Fool’s prank. Two/four wheelers are banned from use till the 14th of April. We will SEIZE your vehicle if you CEASE to ignore this lockdown regulation.”

Source: The Hindu

Milk supply unimpeded

Milk supply remains a constant in the city even as people are stocking up on other products. The easy availability of milk is mainly due to work undertaken by the Bangalore Urban, Rural & Ramanagara District Co-operatives Milk Producers Societies Union (BAMUL), under the Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation (KMF).

But vendors and agents in non-residential areas are hit by the drop in demand from commercial players such as hotels, restaurants, bakeries and caterers.

Source: The Hindu

Caged pets abandoned

Following the lockdown, many pet shop owners have abandoned the animals they’d incarcerated. About 40 random inspections by the KAWB (Karnataka Animal Welfare Board) officials, activists and a few NGOs confirmed this. During an inspection in Halasuru, KAWB officials found two rabbits and a few birds dead. Officials said that most of the shops were unauthorised.

Various NGOs and individuals had complained to the KAWB that the owners of many pet shops were not feeding the animals and birds. They appealed to the police and BBMP to give curfew passes for pet feeders and animal rescuers.

Stray animals and those in animal shelters are also affected by food shortage. Shashi Kumar, Joint Director (Animal Husbandry) at BBMP, clarified that the civic body would give three vehicles to feed stray animals. NGOs and individuals can approach BBMP, and they will be given passes and permission, he said.

Source: The Hindu

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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