Week’s news in brief: 27 June – 3 July

Arts and Culture

Exorbitant rent in Kalakshetra

Exorbitant rent for Ravindra Kalakshetra is making Yakshagana performance (a folk art from coastal Karnataka) difficult now. The organisers of Yakshagana shows find this difficult to get suitable alternative places. The rent has been increased from Rs.9700 to Rs.13,700. Yakshagana lovers urge to lower rent in the interest of safeguarding a folk art (Udayavani, Monday, 30 June)

Crime

They came to help but were cheated

They came with a trust but got betrayed instead. Lee Sung Shin and his wife Kim Bong Sun came to Bangalore with the intention of helping tribal and orphan children, but got cheated to the tune of over Rs.25 lakhs. Lee and Kim opened a trust called India Mission Training Centre in Ramanagara, and bought land for the purpose. They entrusted a farmer duo with the sale, but the latter prepared papers in Kannada and sold their property to someone else. ( Prajavani , Saturday, 28 June)

New enemy for coin telephone booths

People have ingenuous ways of cheating public phone booth owners. They have now started using alternatives that weigh the same as a one rupee coin to make calls from these pay phones. Some tie the coin and dip it into the booth, and take it back after the call. This is resulting in losses to booth operators, but the public sector-BSNL says it is their responsibility to keep a watch on their own booths. ( Prajavani , Thursday, 3 July)

Environment

Government decides to deprivatise lakes

In a landmark move, the state government decided to take back all lakes which were handed over to private operators for development. Lake development authority will take care of these lakes in future. Minister Katta Subrahmanya Naidu said that lakes can be used as source of water to the city in future. He promised change all old water supply pipes within 18 months. ( Udayavani , Sunday, 29 June)

Early deaths to trees

Do you know that about 30 thousand trees in the city will die in next four to five months? BBMP has taken up widening works in 120 roads which may uproot all the trees adjoining these roads. Hasiru Usiru, a city-based green group in its report, alleges that BBMP has not initiated any damage control measures. The group has filed a PIL to this regard in High court. ( Udayavani , Sunday, 29 June)

Government

Employment assurance not fulfilled

BIA in Devanahalli did not fulfil its assurance to provide employment for those who lost their fertile land to the project. Farmers who gave land have to be satisfied with the meagre compensation they got from the government. In what appears to be an eye-washing tactic, BIA gave insignificant jobs to a few people. Farmers of Bavapura, Arshinagunte, and other surrounding areas are expressing their anguish over this issue. ( Kannada Prabha , Monday, 30 June)

No election before revision of BBMP wards

State election commissioner M R Hegde clarified that it is not possible to hold elections for the BBMP council before restructuring its wards in the wake of inclusion of new areas to BBMP. He said that voters list for each of the wards will be prepared on basis of the assembly voters list. Objection to the ward list can be filed with the commission, he clarified ( Kannada Prabha , Saturday, 29 June)

Ex MLAs threaten Lokayukta

The Lokayukta seems to have opened a pandora’s box by submitting the names of the MLAs who haven’t declared their assets, to the Governor. An ex-minister and sixtime MLA has even threatened the Lokayukta with dire consequences since the latter made his name public. The Act stipulates that even MLAs of the erstwhile assembly should file their asset declarations. However, 113 former MLAs who lost in the recent elections have not bothered to do so. Politicians disagree — they opine that Lokayukta should not have made their names public at this stage as the Act does not allow for it, according to them. ( Vijaya Karnataka , Thursday, 3 July)

He came running to file an affidavit

For a change, an MLA came running to the Lokayukta office at the closing hours of 30 June to file a declaration of his assets. Haladi Srinivasa Shetty, a BJP MLA from Kundapur in Udupi district, pleaded ignorance of the deadline, but made an effort to file it anyway. Though it was after office hours, the Lokayukta made an exception and accepted his file. The three time MLA is known for his simplicity and honesty. ( Samyukta Karnataka , Thursday, 3 July)

Minister and 39 MLAs did not file affidavits to Lokayukta

Section 22 of Lokayukta Act makes it mandatory to all people’s representatives to declare their assets. But social welfare minister Sudhakar and 39 MLAs have failed to submit affidavits detailing their assets. As of 30 June, the last date for doing so, only 184 MLAs and 62 MLCs haved honoured this law. ( Vijaya Karnataka , Tuesday, 1 July)

To this minister, house of Telugu cine villain is a model

Revenue minister Karunakara Reddy is spending crores of rupees to renew his government bungalow – a fine example of the misuse of public funds in the exchequer. The minister, who lives on race course road, wants to renew his bungalow on the lines of house of villain in a Telugu film. This fantasy is expected to cost nearly a crore rupees. About 25 workers are expected complete the renovation in four months. ( Udayavani , Tuesday 1 July)

Health

Now it is Dengue

After Chikungunya, dengue fever entered Bangalore. 2-3 cases of this fatal fever has been surfacing every week for the past one month. According to sources in BBMP, of 142 who treated for fever in Srirampura hospital 12 cases are confirmed for dengue. So far no deaths are reported. ( Kannada Prabha , Monday, 30 June)

Ventilator shortage results in deaths

Most government hospitals suffer from a shortage of ventilators, endangering the lives of patients. Doctors are forced to refer them to private hospitals for the lack of ventilators. But the health department refutes the fact, even though the patients themselves claim the same. The K C General Hospital and Jayanagar General Hospital have three ventilators each. To meet the demand in Bangalore, the ventilators allotted to Chikmagalur and Kolar have been recalled. ( Vijaya Karnataka , Wednesday, 2 July)

Infrastructure

Techies come forward to control traffic

Everybody blames the police when traffic jams happen. But how many realise that they actively contribute to the chaos themselves? A group of techies set out to address this issue when they manned traffic along with the police on 100 ft inner ring road in Koramangala for about a week. They advised and warned traffic rules violators, and gave out the message that each citizen should take responsibility for easing the problem. ( Vijaya Karnataka , Monday, 30 June)

Avenue road widening gives shop owners the shivers

"The heat is now turned on at Avenue Road – BBMP’s plan to widen this well known but terribly congested road has left a number of shop owners looking for alternatives. It might not be so easy, for this road realises lakhs of rupees of turnover every day. BBMP plans to widen the present 8 to 10 metre wide road to at least 24 meters. That means shops within 7 meters of area on either side of the road may need to vacate soon. ( Prajavani , Saturday, 28 June)

Shortage of fire squads

Bangalore has a mere 12 fire squads to safeguard its 80 lakh population. As per norms there should be one squad per 50,000 people. The existing squads too, are crippled with a number of problems, shortage of personnel being a major one. The squads are equipped to tackle buildings only up to 34 metres in height. Some buildings in Bangalore, however, are more than 100 metres tall. ( Vijaya Karnataka , Saturday, 28 June)

Learning driving in traffic chaos

Motor vehicle driving class is big business now. However many training institutes do not have proper facilities to teach driving. They use busy roadss to teach driving, which in most of the cases results in traffic jams. But some of the institute owners do not agree with this. They claim they bring students to the roads only after the basic have been taught. Some students ask where should we go to learn driving? ( Vijaya Karnataka , Sunday, 29 June)

Pedestrians at the receiving end

While addressing the traffic problems of the city, the woes of pedestrians are totally ignored. There are no proper footpaths provided, and the few available are usually encroached by roadside vendors. People are forced to walk on the traffic-heavy roads, leading to fatalities in many cases. Zebra crossings also seem to have vanished in many circles. A few skywalks can be seen in some areas, but pedestrians hardly use them ( Udayavani , Thursday, 3 July)

Fuel shortage in Bangalore

After the fuel price hike, it is fuel shortage which is bothering motorists in the city. Many of the outlets have put up a ‘no stock’ board. While fuel companies are blamed for creating the artificial shortage in an effort to push the sale of branded fuel, the Bangalore Petroleum Sellers Association refutes this. They claim that decrease in the supply of fuel is the reason behind present situation. ( Vijaya Karnataka , Thursday, 3 July)

Airforce objects to 2nd runway of BIA

The construction of second the runway at the BIA has come to a dead end, with the defence ministry opposing it. The ministry has asked BIAL to change the direction of proposed runway, as the Airforce training centre is just 1.8 km away. The BIAL is not favourably disposed to this suggestion, and the state government too has expressed its inability to provide additional land in case of change in then direction of the runway. ( Prajavani , Thursday, 3 July)

Steel flyover in Bangalore

In addition to a number of road related works, BBMP is now constructing a steel flyover in Minerva Circle. The steel road will be mounted on steel pillars, and will be open only to light vehicles. The steel flyover will connect Minerva circle to Hudson circle, thus easing traffic flow on J C Road. The flyover will be 5.5 metres above the ground level and 10 metres wide. ( Prajavani , Wednesday, 2 July)

Vehicle alighting charges in BIA

The list of problems in the BIA in Devanahalli is growing bigger by the day. Now it is about parking. Vehicles that stop for alighting passengers are allowed to do so only for ten minutes. They will incur a fee of Rs.50 for every additional 15 minutes. Passengers and cab owners express their displeasure over this inhuman ‘business’. ( Vijaya Karnataka , Wednesday, 2 July)

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