Bengaluru Buzz: Five corona cases | City shuts down for a week | Bannerghatta park’s eco-sensitive zone cut down…and more

Corona and cholera cases reported, Bannerghatta National Park's eco-sensitive zone cut by 100 sq km, court orders removal of hazardous transformers - catch up on news from the city this week, in our roundup.

Five COVID-19 cases reported so far

Five COVID-19 cases were reported in Bengaluru as of Thursday. The first case, confirmed on March 9, was that of a 46-year-old IT employee who had travelled from US via Dubai. His wife (47), daughter (13), and a 50-year-old man were added to the list the next day. The fifth case, reported on Thursday, was that of a 26-year-old who returned from Greece.

All five patients have all been quarantined in the state-run Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD). They are responding well to treatment and are recovering, said RGICD Director C Nagaraj.

As per a health department bulletin on Thursday, 1,220 persons had been identified for observation. Of them, 292 had completed 28 days of observation and 906 were still under home quarantine.

Source: Indian Express | The Hindu

Malls, theatres, colleges to shut down for a week

To contain the spread of COVID-19, all malls, cinema halls, pubs, exhibitions, summer camps, colleges and universities will be closed for a week from March 14. IT professionals and others working in AC rooms too have been asked to work from home. Cancellation of weddings and sport activities is advised. Residents have been told to stay at home. Restaurants and eateries will remain open, but the government has advised people not to eat out and to order online instead.

S Suresh Kumar, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, said that the government had declared summer vacation for Bengaluru urban and rural schools from March 13. Thermal screening at the Kempegowda International Airport has been stepped up; so far, around 70,000 passengers have been screened. All buses of the BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) and KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) have been cleaned with disinfectants.

Officials of various government departments held discussions with HR representatives of tech companies and resident welfare associations (RWAs). On Wednesday, Karnataka government began an extensive awareness campaign titled ‘Namaste over handshake’. Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao has requested citizens to avoid protests and gatherings in large numbers, and clarified that precautions will be taken during drink-and-drive checks.

A coordination committee had been formed to look into COVID-19 positive cases, and private hospitals are advised to report suspected cases to government hospitals, said Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. Regular surveillance teams as well as district mental health counsellors are following up with patients. Meanwhile, hand-sanitisers and N-95 masks are flying off the shelves due to panic-buying, said medical store proprietors.

Source: The Hindu | Deccan Herald | Indian Express

At least 10 cholera, gastroenteritis cases confirmed

At least 10 patients, most of them in BBMP East Zone, have tested positive for cholera and gastroenteritis. Some patients have been admitted to the ICU after being diagnosed with acute kidney injury and dehydration. According to municipal records, no cholera case was reported in the past few years except for one in 2019.

BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) has intensified eviction of unauthorised as well as unhygienic roadside eateries and meat shops. BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board), has tested water samples from 29 places, all of which seem to have met the national standards. Further, BWSSB plans to collect and test 80-100 water samples every day and upload the reports on its website.

Cholera is usually spread through contaminated drinking water or food, and can be fatal if untreated. The deadly effects of cholera are due to a toxin produced in the small intestine, which causes the body to secrete enormous amounts of water, resulting in diarrhoea and rapid loss of fluids and electrolytes.

Source: Bangalore Mirror | The Hindu | Indian Express

BNP’s eco-sensitive zone reduced by 100 sq km

Centre’s MoEF&CC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) has given the green signal for reducing the ESZ (Eco-Sensitive Zone) of Bannerghatta National Park by about 100 sq km. This was despite huge public protests by more than 80,000 citizens, as well as three BJP MPs supporting the protesters.

The gazette notification by the ministry specifies that the ESZ area is 168.84 sq kms, whereas the first draft notification issued in 2016 had marked an area of 268.9 sq km. According to the Bannerghatta Nature Conservation Trust, the state government had sought a reduction of over 30% of the ESZ area at an Expert Committee meeting of the MOEF&CC in February 2017. In October 2018, the central government issued a second draft notification reducing the area even more, by around 100 sq kms, based on a “diluted proposal” of the state government.

The Trust claimed that their analysis, with high resolution satellite imagery, had revealed that the ESZ reduction was to allow several stone quarries and crushing units to continue without prior approval of the NBWL (National Board for Wildlife).

In August 2019, the Centre asked Karnataka to reconsider the 2016 notification, but Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had said that many development projects around the park had stopped due to the requirement for NBWL clearance. Last month, he wrote a letter to Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to speed up issuing the notification.

Source: The Hindu |Deccan Herald

HC orders removal of transformers on footpaths

Authorities need to remove and relocate transformers and other electrical installations from footpaths and roadside drains, according to a directive by the High Court of Karnataka. The court was issuing notices to the state government, BESCOM (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd) and the BBMP, in response to a PIL.

In June 2017, BESCOM had informed the petitioner under the RTI Act, that there were 8,659 transformers installed on roads, footpaths and storm water drains. But it took no action to remove these hazardous transformers in spite of several reminders. Court directed BESCOM to specify the actions it had taken on the representations given by the petitioner.

Source: The Hindu

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

Comments:

  1. Amith says:

    The reduction of ESZ will make living in Bangalore impossible. Other projects, which shall kill greater Bangalore area are ORR and Satellite Town Ring Road.

    Bangaloreans are an insouciant lot who are interested in their 30*40 plots and cover every inch of their house with concrete. They are also proud of the fact that they flout rules around RWH.

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