Bengaluru Buzz: NEP language debate | Action against pvt hospitals | Night, Sunday curfews lifted…and more

The new National Education Policy has revived the debate on Kannada medium in primary classes. Catch up on news from the city this week, in our roundup.

NEP: Debate on medium of instruction

The new National Education Policy (NEP) has revived the debate on whether Kannada should be the medium of instruction in primary classes. NEP recommends that the medium of instruction be in local/regional language. School managements point out that the NEP goes against the apex court’s verdict that imposition of mother tongue as the medium of instruction is “unconstitutional”. In the 2019-20 academic year, Karnataka government too had started English-medium sections in government schools. .

Meanwhile, sources from the Kannada Development Authority said the state language should be made mandatory since there are various local languages like Tulu. On August 20, A special task force led by the Karnataka State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) will submit a detailed report on the implementation of NEP in the state.

Meanwhile, state government restored chapters on the 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan in Class 7 syllabus. It had decided to remove the chapters on Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year in the backdrop of COVID.

Source: The Hindu | Bangalore Mirror | Indian Express

Unlock 3.0: Sunday lockdown lifted

State government has removed the imposition of total lockdown on Sundays (which was to last till August 2) as well as the night curfews from 9 pm to 5 am. Gyms and yoga institutes will be allowed to reopen. These changes are in line with the Unlock 3.0 guidelines issued by the Centre.

Meanwhile, COVID cases continue to rise. As of Friday, Bengaluru had 55,544 COVID cases, of which 37,618 were active cases. Many citizens complain that the BBMP is negligent or haphazard in contact tracing, creation of containment zones and sanitisation to control COVID spread.

Source: The News Minute | Deccan Herald | Bangalore Mirror

Shycocan, smell cards to fight COVID

Shycocan, a medical device developed in Bengaluru, has proven to be 99.9% effective in curbing the transmission of COVID-19 in enclosed spaces. The small, drum-like device has been cleared by regulators in the United States and Europe; manufacturing has already begun in these countries. The product is meant to prevent spread, and is not a cure for infected persons.

Meanwhile, Bengaluru Mayor M Goutham Kumar directed officials to consider introducing “smell card checks” at public places like malls, to identify asymptomatic COVID cases. This is because loss of smell is a symptom that afflicts many (but not all) COVID-19 patients.

Source: Deccan Herald | The Hindu

Private hospitals pulled up for denying beds to COVID patients

BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad suspended the licences of 19 private hospitals in Bengaluru South temporarily, for not providing beds to COVID-19 patients. Dr Shivakumar, Health Officer (South Zone), said they have filed complaints against the hospitals under Section 58 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

In addition, four major city hospitals – St Martha’s Hospital in Nrupathunga Road, Rangadore Hospital in Shankarapura, Shifa hospital on Queens Road, and Fortis Hospital on Cunningham Road – face criminal cases over alleged reluctance to provide beds.

Seven teams of IAS and IPS officers inspected private hospitals and said that some hospitals were “manipulating” bed availability. Private hospitals have so far shared only 1,200 beds of the nearly 13,000 available, which is less than 10%. Sources said the government is thinking of taking stringent action against such hospitals under the KPME and the National Disaster Management Acts. But R Ravindra, president of the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, said it was practically impossible to hand over 50% beds in each hospital for government-referred patients only.

The government is planning to take over smaller hospitals entirely for COVID treatment, as they have a single entry point for all patients and it is risky to allow treatment for both COVID and non-COVID patients there, said sources.

Source: Deccan Herald | The Times of India | The Hindu

BBMP looks for alternative burial grounds

Though BBMP had earlier identified burial grounds in city outskirts for COVID victims, it is now forced to find alternative plots due to resistance from communities nearby. As per standard operating procedure, bodies of COVID-19 victims have to be buried in 10-feet deep pits. Residents’ opposition had continued despite officials trying to convince them that there is no change of disease spread after burial.

Source: The Hindu

No festive cheer, traders hit

After weeks, traders in the wholesale hub Chickpet and surrounding areas are looking forward to revive business before the festivals. However, traders are facing multiple challenges. The amount of materials transported has drastically dropped, but the transportation charges have remained the same. Besides, business has slumped.

BBMP announced that KR Market and Kalasipalya market will remain closed till the end of August. Both markets have been sealed since March 24, barring a 12-day period in June. Traders accused the civic body of duplicity as most parts of the central business district, especially Chickpet, SP Road and Avenue Road, have been allowed to open.

Bakrid festivities on Saturday are expected to be low key, as per the appeals of religious leaders. BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad appealed to citizens to not dispose of animal waste in drains or open grounds. He said the Karnataka State Board of Auqaf and the Minorities Welfare Department had issued orders banning animal slaughter in open public places.

Source: The Hindu | Deccan Herald

Metro Phase II tunnel work starts

After a long delay, the BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited) has commenced tunnel work under Namma Metro phase II. A Tunnel Boring Machine, Urja, will be tunnelling from Cantonment to Shivajinagar station. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa inaugurated the work on Thursday.

Under Phase II, BMRCL plans to construct a 13.9-km underground line from Jayanagar Fire Station to Nagawara. The alignment will have 12 stations.

Source: The Hindu

Students asked to produce COVID negative certificates

A few engineering colleges in Bengaluru are allegedly asking final-year students to produce a COVID-19 negative test report before they can appear for exams scheduled for August end. Staff involved in conducting the exams have also reportedly been asked to produce a certificate. After receiving complaints from parents and students, Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) has issued directions to colleges to not demand such certificates.

Around 55,000 engineering students who study in colleges affiliated to VTU, will appear for the final-year exam. Many students have urged the university to have separate exam centres for COVID patients in every district.

Source: The Hindu

‘Air Bubble’ flights from KIA

The KIA (Kempegowda International Airport) is now open to passengers taking the international ‘Air Bubble’ flights, announced by the Ministry of Civil Aviation following bilateral arrangements with multiple countries. These flights will be operational till August 31. Air Bubble flights are now permitted to operate to and from India and France, Germany, the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Meanwhile, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), the operator of KIA, has imported exotic trees from Spain and Italy for landscaping around the airport.

Source: Deccan Herald | Bangalore Mirror

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