Bengaluru Buzz: Plea to vaccinate teachers | House-full allowed | Dementia care centre…and more

Catch up on what happened in the city over the week in our roundup

School teachers as COVID-warriors

Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar has requested the Prime Minister and Union Health and Family Welfare Minister to consider school teachers as COVID warriors and ensure that they are vaccinated on priority. He said teachers have worked on the frontlines and also in containment zones. They played a crucial role in preventing the spread of the virus. They even visited households to collect data and create awareness among the public, he said.

Source: The Hindu

‘Save Turahalli’ gets louder

Even as environmental groups started a campaign to leave Turahalli forests untouched, people in localities that border forest patches on Kanakapura Road, Uttarahalli and Banashankari are holding spontaneous demonstrations themselves. On Wednesday, over a 100 of them gathered at the Turahalli minor forest entrance, demanding that the government reverse its order and not convert the forest into a tree park.

Meanwhile, the Forest Department continued to claim that no work related to the tree park is being taken up and a detailed project report is yet to be prepared. Some of the work related to clearing weeds, compound walls and others are being taken up to avoid fire incidents in the summer, it said.

The State government, under Bengaluru Mission 2022, plans to establish two mega tree parks in the suburbs, each over 400 acres. This is apart from popularising existing mini forests in Turahalli, J P Nagar, Kadugodi and Mathikere. Activists stressed on the need to leave the 600-odd acre Turahalli forest untouched. They said it is one of the last few remaining green swathes in the city, and home to over 120 species of birds. Two years ago, the government declared that the existing tree park on 45 acres near the forest would be developed to keep people away from the main forest and protect its sensitive biodiversity.

Source: The New Indian Express, The Hindu

Govt allows 100% occupancy

A day after restricting seating capacity in cinemas to 50% on Thursday, the State government permitted 100% occupancy in movie halls for four weeks. The decision is to be revoked if COVID-19 cases go up. Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar said it was taken in consideration of the hardships faced by artistes, producers, and other workers. The 64th Covid-19 TAC meeting for Karnataka held on January 14 had a 14-member expert committee strongly recommending against ‘giving any scope for lapses, relaxations’.

On Friday, the state government introduced a fresh set of standard operating procedures, to be reviewed in the first week of March. The new guidelines, issued after a meeting with the Technical Advisory Committee on COVID, emphasises physical distancing, frequent sanitisation and ventilation of premises.

Meanwhile, 217 fresh Covid cases and two deaths were reported in the city on Friday.

Source: Indian Express, The Hindu, Deccan Herald

800 BMTC employees absent

The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation reported that more than 800 of its employees had not turned up for work for the last three months. The corporation is planning action against some of them. Although most of its 26,319 crew was reporting for work, 802 employees remained absent even after services were scaled up to meet the passenger demand. The corporation had decided not to take action on some of the employees in view of the pandemic, but will look into cases where absenteeism had exceeded 90 days.

Source: Deccan Herald

First dementia care centre

The first government-run dementia care centre in the country will be built at NIMHANS in Bengaluru. The 100-bed facility, whose construction is to begin in the next few months, will be set up at the premier mental health institute’s Sakalavara Community Mental Health Centre campus, located on Bannerghatta Road. Treatment for dementia is prohibitively expensive and nearly a third of patients require residential care.

The geriatric psychiatric unit in NIMHANS alone has treated around 3,500 dementia out-patients and has seen 275 admissions every year since July 2017.

Source: Deccan Herald

Low turnout at Aero India

Curtains came down on the 13th edition of Aero India, the aerospace and defence business exhibition at Yelahanka Air Force base on Friday. The show, focused on indigenisation, was marked by reduced foreign participation. There were 600 exhibitors, including 78 foreign ones. Only 20,000 people turned up to watch the show physically, although 4.5 lakh watched it virtually.

There were 200 agreements, including 128 MoUs and 19 technology transfers. About 45 MSME companies bagged projects worth ₹203 crore. It witnessed the armed forces’ wish list for indigenisation of parts, technologies and processes.

Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

Schools oppose fees decision

The Department of Primary and Secondary Education’s directive that schools collect only 70% of the tuition fees charged in the previous academic year is being opposed by many school managements. Some said they will even challenge it in court. They contended that budget schools and their finances have not been factored, and that many might be forced to shut down.

School managements could go to court against the government’s directive to reduce tution fees. File Pic

Reports indicate that many parents have not paid fees for this year and even last year. Many top private schools said they had invested in new infrastructure for online classes.

Source: The Hindu

Low demand for petrol, diesel

Daily hikes in the prices of petrol and diesel has led to a fall in sales at retail fuel pumps in the city. Reports indicate that fuel stations, which saw the demand slowly rising to pre-COVID times, have seen sales stagnate over the past one month. Bengaluru has about 400 fuel retail outlets selling an average of 6,000 litres of petrol and 4,000 litres of diesel per day. That was before the lockdown. After the pandemic hit, many outlets sold less than 1,000 litres of both the fuels combined.

Source: Deccan Herald

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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