Bengaluru Buzz: Study shows Metro improves air quality | COVID testing pre-hospitalisation stopped…and more

Study showing positive effects of Namma Metro released, disagreements on school uniform continue - read more of the week's news in our roundup.

Metro reduces emissions: Study

A study by Bangalore University’s Department of Environmental Science showed that the air quality at six locations along Namma Metro Phase-II improved between 2017 and 2021. The study measured air quality at the following Metro corridors — Mysuru Road Terminal to Kengeri, Puttenahalli Cross to Anjanapura Township, Gottigere to Nagawara, RV Road to Bommasandra, Krishnarajapuram Byapanahalli to Whitefield, and Hesaraghatta Cross to BIEC.

The PM2.5 concentration recorded at all the sampling stations were within the limit of 60µg/m3 prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board. PM10 had exceeded the prescribed limit of 100µg/m3 in 2017, but gradually decreased. Between 2018 and 2021, PM10 concentrations were within the 100µg/m3 limit. Given these findings, the study advocates for a robust public transport system.

Source: Indian Express

Read more: “Namma Metro till Silk Institute saves me Rs 10,000 a month”

Disagreements over wearing religious symbols continue

Authorities of the Mount Carmel PUC (Pre-University College) asked a Sikh student to remove her turban, based on Karnataka High Court’s interim order restraining students from wearing religious symbols. During a visit earlier this week, the Deputy Director of PU Education had asked a group of hijab-wearing girls in the college to abide by the court order. The girls had then questioned why turbans too were not ordered to be removed. However, the Sikh student said the turban was sacred, and the college did not push for its removal. 

On Thursday, High Court started the tenth hearing on the plea of students challenging hijab ban. Meanwhile, the state government submitted that it is not interfering with uniform norms in private minority educational institutions, so the court on Tuesday disposed of a petition filed by the Karnataka State Minorities Educational Institutions Managements Federation. The federation had argued that the restrictions can’t be enforced in private minority institutions.

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

No output from BBMP’s works: BNP

The city-based political party Bengaluru Navanirmana Party (BNP) said that BBMP’s claim of having spent Rs 111 crore on roads and drains in HSR Layout between 2016 and 2021 has shown no tangible output on the ground. BNP also launched the #LekkaBeku drive to create awareness about the hundreds of crores of taxpayers’ money spent by the BBMP in each ward “without any transparency, citizen participation or accountability”.

A bad road in HSR Layout
A bad road in HSR Layout. Repesentational image:

BNP members pointed out that a 2021 audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had revealed BBMP does not maintain work registers, progress reports, final drawings of works done, or proper maps or database of its stormwater drain network. Many works are passed off as ‘emergency works’ without calling for tenders, and on some occasions the same work was paid twice.

BNP also alleged that, in Jayanagar, BBMP had sanctioned Rs 6.5 crore to develop and maintain 37 parks, but eventually spent 85% of the amount (Rs 5.5 crore) to develop just six parks.

Source: Indian Express, The Times of India

Read more: BBMP is dead; Long live BBMP

BBMP seeks citizens’ inputs for budget

Recently, BBMP and the NGO Janaagraha launched this year’s ‘MyCityMyBudget’ campaign, seeking citizens’ participation in the preparation of BBMP budget 2022-23. The campaign will collect budget inputs from citizens, with a special focus on parks, footpaths and public toilets. A ‘budget bus’ will travel around the city till March 15 for this purpose. Janaagraha will collate and analyse the inputs, and provide a report to BBMP. Flagging off the campaign, BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta invited citizens to submit their inputs online through or through the budget bus.

Last year, the campaign received over 10,000 inputs for the 2021-22 budget. Based on this, BBMP had entrusted each ward committee with Rs 60 lakh for ward-level works.

Source: Indian Express, Deccan Herald

COVID test no longer needed before hospitalisation

Due to declining COVID cases, state government has ordered all state-run and private hospitals to discontinue the precautionary testing of asymptomatic patients before hospitalisation and other medical procedures. However, symptomatic patients would continue to be tested, isolated and treated.

Source: Indian Express

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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