Bengaluru Buzz: Bandh peaceful | CAG report on roads | Renovation of 34 BBMP schools…and more

BBMP is planning to renovate 34 schools and recruit permanent teachers, as student enrolment has increased. Read more in our weekly news roundup.

Bandh against hijab order partial, peaceful

Several parts of the city were deserted on Thursday in response to the bandh called by Muslim groups to protest the Karnataka High Court’s ruling on hijab. Establishments owned by Muslims on Commercial Street, Shivajinagar, Yarab Nagar near Banashankari, Mosque road, JC Nagar, Central Business District (CBD) and Chamarajpet were closed and people’s movement was low. Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant oversaw security arrangements in Kadugondanahalli, DJ Halli, JC Nagar and RT Nagar police station limits. The bandh passed off peacefully.

Before the High Court pronounced its verdict on Tuesday morning, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were imposed in parts of Bengaluru. Kamal Pant issued orders prohibiting all gatherings, protests and celebrations in public places from March 15 to 21.

Source: Indian Express

Bengaluru roads most hazardous in K’taka: CAG

A CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) report slams BBMP roads as the most hazardous in Karnataka. Bengaluru roads have around 20 hazards per km, compared to 8.87, 8.43 and 7.39 hazards per km respectively for state highways, major district roads and national highways respectively. This as per CAG’s performance audit on the Karnataka State Road Safety Authority, tabled in the Assembly on Wednesday.

The report said that the Road Safety Authority, established in 2018, is yet to frame rules to discharge its duties. It has utilised hardly Rs 10 crore out of Rs 480 cr released to it.

On Tuesday, the High Court gave 15 days to the BBMP to survey the CBD area, identify and complete the work on stretches that need repair. After the recent death of Ashwin, a 27-year-old IT employee, due to a pothole formed by BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board) works, BBMP has started inspection of roads in the city. BBMP engineers said they repaired the road where Ashwin died, and that the bill would be handed over to BWSSB.

Source: Deccan Herald, The New Indian Express, The Hindu

Read More: 324 trees to be cut in Namma Metro Phase II, mapped

1,000 trees may be axed for metro

Over a thousand trees on the median of the Outer Ring Road, originally planted as part of a green initiative in 2005-06, may be axed to build a section of the 58-km airport Metro line. The Deputy Conservator of Forests at BBMP, who is also the tree officer, has agreed that the BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd) can fell 1,334 trees along the Metro alignment from Kasturi Nagar to Kempapura.

To compensate for the loss, BMRCL has been told to plant saplings in BWSSB’s land in Hebbal and in the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board’s Defence and Aerospace Park.

Source: The Hindu

BBMP owes govt nearly 1,500 cr in cess payment

As per a CAG report, BBMP owes the state government Rs 1,087 crore in health cess payment, as it had not transferred the annual cess collected for five years between 2014-15 and 2018-19. The report says that BBMP also failed to remit Rs 226 cr out of Rs 434 cr it collected as library cess, and Rs 150 cr out of Rs 217 cr collected as beggary cess.

Meanwhile, several State and Central government departments collectively owe Rs 355 crore as water bill arrears to the BWSSB.

Source: Deccan Herald, The New Indian Express

Vaccination for 12-14 age group starts

On Wednesday, Health Minister K Sudhakar flagged off vaccination with Corbevax for children in the 12-14 age group. The department has set a target of vaccinating 20 lakh in this age group, but turnout was low on the first day.

The Union Health Ministry had said that its decision to start these vaccinations was well-deliberated. However, the NTAGI (National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation), one of the authorities in the chain of vaccine approvals, said their approval had not been taken.

Inauguration of vaccination drive for 12-14-year-olds
Vaccination drive for 12-14-year-olds flagged off. Pic credit: Twitter/K Sudhakar

Many paediatricians said they would ask parents to not immediately vaccinate their children, since the results of the clinical trials have not been published yet. The Corbevax vaccine has been developed by Hyderabad-based Biological E Limited. However, Biological E says 176 children were part of their paediatric clinical trial.

Source: Indian Express, Deccan Herald, The New Indian Express

Read More: “How my parents got their vaccine shots”

BBMP to renovate 34 schools, recruit permanent teachers

BBMP is preparing to renovate and repair 34 schools and colleges, mostly in the East Zone. The corporation had allotted Rs 20 crore in its 2021-22 budget and Rs 10 crore in the 2020-21 budget for these works, but administrative hurdles led to delay, said an official from BBMP’s Education Department. BBMP sources said that the increase in student enrolment – from 18,000 last year to 23,000 this year – also prompted them to improve infrastructure.

BBMP is also planning to build at least 20 new classrooms in four schools as well as new schools in peripheral areas, for which it has requested budget allocation

After a long gap, BBMP is also planning to recruit 210 permanent teachers – 67 for primary schools, 137 for high schools and six for physical education. Currently, 640 of over 800 teachers at BBMP schools are outsourced.

Source: Deccan Herald

Traffic police campaign on good-quality helmets

The Bengaluru Traffic Police on Tuesday launched the Safety First campaign on the importance of using good-quality helmets. The campaign was inaugurated by Ashwini Puneeth Rajkumar, late actor Puneeth Rajkumar’s wife, by distributing helmets to women traffic personnel.

A video clip with the voice of Puneeth Rajkumar, urging road users to follow traffic rules and wear helmets, was launched during the campaign. The clip was also aired at the screening of his last film James, released on Thursday, his 47th birth anniversary.

Source: Deccan Herald, The Hindu

New defence facility inaugurated

On Thursday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a seven-storey facility for flight control systems at the Aeronautical Development Establishment, New Thippasandra. The facility was built by DRDO in just 45 days, with in-house technology. It will house R&D facilities to develop fifth-generation medium-weight deep-penetration fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.

Source: Deccan Herald

Question on stray dog menace in Assembly

Beyond sterilisation drives and anti-rabies vaccines, government is helpless in dealing with stray dogs in Bengaluru, said Law Minister JC Madhuswamy in the Legislative Assembly. He was responding to Basavanagudi MLA Ravi Subramanya who pointed out that many were getting bitten by stray dogs. Subramanya said that agencies were not conducting sterilisation drives properly, and that data on stray dogs was inadequate. When he suggested that stray dogs should be relocated to open spaces outside the city, Madhuswamy said this was not permitted as per Supreme Court orders.

Source: Deccan Herald

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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