Bengaluru Buzz: Water crisis looms | Metro rail extension … and more

Other news of the week: Bengaluru has most number of EV charging stations, new rules for property tax and Government job fair.

Water crisis in summer looms

The city faces a potential water crisis this summer due to drought. Many areas have irregular supply and low-pressure flow. In Hebbal, Banaswadi and JC Nagar, there has been a decline in water frequency, with the once-in-two-days Cauvery water supply reduced to once every five days. At Munireddy Palya, there are complaints of erratic supply patterns and short supply hours. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) denied it, but residents suspect that the agency is rationing water to preempt a summer crisis.

Weak Southwest monsoon rains, reduced levels in the Cauvery basin reservoirs and encroachments into water body zones have led to the problem in a city of 14 million residents.

Source: Deccan Herald, The Times of India

Read more: Gaps in BWSSB data, public scepticism: Why rainwater harvesting is not popular in Bengaluru

Bengaluru has most number of EV charging stations

The city has the largest number of electric vehicle charging stations in the country, with Bengaluru Urban district featuring 4,281 and Bengaluru Rural hosting 192 of them. No other district crossed the 100th mark. Sources said that people in Bengaluru are more aware of EVs as there are more showrooms here. Urbanites can afford them too.

Sources from the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (Bescom) said that they have installed charging stations through various funding sources, including the Union government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme, Bescom’s own capital expenditure, funds from the State Transport Department’s green cess, and through a public-private partnership model. 

Bescom has awarded a tender to Reliance BP Mobility Limited for setting up 225 public charging stations across the city.

Source: The Hindu, The Economic Times

Metro rail to be extended

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced in his Budget speech that a report to extend the Metro rail from BIEC to Tumkur (50 kms) and Kempegowda International Airport to Devanahalli (13 kms) will be drafted and taken up on a Public-Private Partnership model. There have also been some plans to extend the Metro network to Bidadi, Kanakapura and Hoskote among other suburbs.

By March 2025, an additional 44 kms of metro line will be added to the existing 74 kms. The Outer Ring Road-Airport road works under the Metro Rail project Phases 2 and 2A will be completed by June, 2026.

Source: Indian Express

New rules for property tax

The Karnataka Assembly passed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Amendment Bill 2024 to reduce the penalty on property tax by 50%. It will benefit about 13 to 15 lakh, including 5.51 lakh taxpayers, according to the Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, who is also responsible for Bengaluru Development.

A bird's eye view of Bengaluru
Representative image. Property in Nagwara. Pic: Wikipedia/KshitizBathwal (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Property Guidance value will be the basis for calculating property tax in the city, replacing the system of assessment and classifying properties under various zones from A to E. The BBMP issued a draft notification regarding the calculation of property tax, clubbing the guidance value of the property as well as the built-up area. From April 1st, many immovable properties would most likely see a dramatic jump in the annual tax, even though the rise will be capped at 20% from the amount paid last year.

The government also tabled the Registration (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2024, for e-registration of properties without the physical presence of both the seller and the buyer. It will reduce overcrowding at the registration office.

Source: Indian Express, Deccan Herald

Read more: CAG audit 2021-22: Revenue concerns, PSU returns hinder Karnataka’s fiscal efficiency

Government job fair

A state-level, government job fair, the Bruhat Udyoga Mela-Yuva Samriddhi Sammelana 2024, will be organised at Palace Grounds in Bengaluuru on February 26th and 27th to give opportunities for 50,000 people. There will be more than 1,10,000 job offers with more than 600 well-known firms, including Foxconn, Toyota, Wistron, Infosys, Schindler India, HDFC Bank, Biocon, Mahindra Aerospace, Molex India, Maini Precision Products, and TATA Group.

Currently, the unemployment rate is at 2.4%, according to the Periodic Labour Force Survey Q3-2024. The job fair hopes to narrow the unemployment gap and link students with industries.

Source: Indian Express

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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