Bengaluru Buzz: Bus strike continues | Night curfew | Trial runs on new Metro line … and more

Catch on news from the city this week, in our roundup.

Bus strike continues, trainee staff fired

Karnataka road transport corporation employees have announced that their strike will continue until the government hikes their salaries as per the 6th Pay Commission, and offers them the same benefits as government employees. The government said it has agreed to eight out of nine of the workers’ demands, and was considering a salary hike of 8%. On Thursday, BMTC fired 96 trainees for boycotting work.

Citizens dependent on BMTC fleet turned to private buses, autos and taxis to commute to work. Some passengers at Majestic and Mysuru Satellite bus stands accused private operators of fleecing them. Transport Department has instructed private players to collect fares as applicable to KSRTC and BMTC buses.

Government has invited retired employees aged below 62 years to work on contract basis, with an honorarium of Rs 800 for drivers and Rs 700 for conductors, provided they clear the fitness test. On Thursday, 446 buses belonging to the four transport corporations resumed operations. On April 8 morning, till 10 am, the BMTC was running around 50 buses. More than 1,500 private buses and around 2,000 vans and maxi cabs are also operating.

Meanwhile, the Railway Board approved special trains to various destinations in Karnataka from April 8 to 14.

Source: The Hindu, Indian Express, The Times of India, Bangalore Mirror

Night curfew, more restrictions in city

Bengaluru is now among the top 10 cities to contribute to the surge in the second Covid wave in India. On social media, many pulmonologists have reported symptoms different from the classic signs of Covid infection. The posts claim there is an increase in patients coming with conjunctivitis, severe gastric issues, abdominal pain, palpitations and hearing loss.

The state government on Thursday decided to impose ‘Corona Curfew’ in eight cities including Bengaluru, for 10 days starting April 10. This night curfew will be in force on all days from 10 pm to 5 am. There will be strict enforcement of the Rs 250 fine on those who don’t wear masks or violate social distancing norms. Several eateries and shopping centres across the city have been shut down for breaking Covid rules.

City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant imposed prohibitory orders, banning the operation of swimming pools, gymnasiums and party halls in residential complexes. Earlier, prohibitory orders had been passed banning protests and rallies from April 4 to 20.

Bengaluru’s flagship festival Karaga was banned last year, but whether it will be held this year from April 19 to 27 is yet to be decided. Archbishop Rev Peter Machado ordered the suspension of public liturgical services in churches, chapels and institutions from April 7 to 20. However, private services will be allowed.

Source: The New Indian Express, The Times of India, Deccan Herald, Indian Express

Daily target of 1 lakh Covid tests for Bengaluru

The government has decided to target one lakh Covid tests a day in Bengaluru, and to conduct a door-to-door survey to identify positive cases. Also, at least 20 primary and secondary contacts should be identified for each Covid case. There are 8,500 booths in BBMP limits, and a team will be formed in each booth for testing, spreading awareness, assisting infected persons, and treating those under home isolation. There are 250 ambulances, and each ward would have a dedicated ambulance.

BBMP has directed zonal commissioners to identify facilities to set up at least two or three 50 to 60-bedded Covid Care Centres (CCCs) for asymptomatic patients. Private hospitals have been directed to reserve 50% beds for Covid patients. Currently 1,000 beds are available, and measures have been initiated to increase it by 3,000 to 4,000.

A vaccination ‘utsav’ will be carried out from April 11, the birth anniversary of activist Jyotirao Phule, to April 14, the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar. Against the target of 100,000 vaccinations per day, Bengaluru has achieved only 40,000. At this rate, it will take 84 days to complete the first dose for the 45+ population in the city. Small-and-medium-sized private hospitals in Bengaluru say they are not getting enough vaccine supplies to carry out vaccination drives.

Source: Deccan Herald, Bangalore Mirror

Trial runs on Mysore Road-Kengeri Metro line

To meet its June deadline for commissioning the extended Metro line from Mysore Road to Kengeri, BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited) has started running trains at slow speed along the line. Various parameters, such as track structure, coordination of signalling and telecommunication systems, will be measured during the trial runs. The 6.46-km line would be the second extension to begin operations under Phase 2 of Metro. BMRCL had thrown open the Yelachenahalli-Silk Institute extension for operations in January.

Source: Deccan Herald

IISc software to automate intellectual property protection

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has developed software to automate the process of protecting and translating intellectual property. The software named ProrIISeTM was launched on Monday. Released after three years of testing, the software will automate the legal and bureaucratic part of intellectual property protection and translation.

IISc said protection is vital if intellectual property is to be translated to industry for commercialisation, but the track record of protection and translation in India was poor. A 2016 IISc evaluation showed that the amount of time spent on administering the patent process, instead of on translation, was a major reason for poor protections.

Source: Deccan Herald

“Can’t stop traffic in Cubbon Park“: State govt

State government informed the High Court that vehicular traffic within Cubbon Park cannot be stopped. Rakesh Singh, Additional Chief Secretary at Urban Development Department, stated in an affidavit that, as per a meeting held on November 11, it was decided that vehicular traffic must be allowed in Cubbon Park as before the pandemic.

The Cubbon Park Walkers’ Association had filed a contempt petition, stating that the government didn’t obey the order passed by the High Court last October. The court had then directed the government to consider the recommendation of the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) to not allow vehicular traffic inside Cubbon Park. The association argued that DULT’s recommendation was not considered in the proper perspective.

Source: Deccan Herald

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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