Bengaluru Buzz: Air purifiers to be installed at traffic junctions | No funds for Indira canteens | BU campus to be geo-tagged…and more

WEEKLY NEWS ROUNDUP FROM BENGALURU

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Heavy traffic at Silk Board worsens air pollution. Pic: Wikipedia.org

City to get air purifiers 

About 500 air-purifying devices will be installed at various traffic-heavy junctions in the city, to reduce vehicular pollution. A memorandum of understanding was signed by the BBMP with the software firm aTechTron, which will begin to install the purifiers from the second week of September.

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About 100 air purifiers will be installed over three months in the first phase. The entire project will be completed within the next year-and-half. At more traffic-heavy junctions such as Silk Board, Marathahalli and Bellandur, more than one device will be installed.

The devices are made with patented technology. They filter, among other pollutants, particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), dust, smog and petroleum fumes. Each purifier cleans the air within a radius of 60-80 feet.

The first air purifier was installed in Hudson Circle as a pilot in February. In just a month, more than 650 grams of fine dust particles were collected by the device. Each air purifier will cost Rs 2.5 lakh. BBMP officials say they have set aside Rs 5 crore to install the purifiers. But 25 companies have shown interest in funding the installations as part of their CSR, and hence the project may be completed at zero cost to the BBMP.

Source: The Hindu | The News Minute | The New Indian Express

No funds for Indira canteens

Outgoing BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said, at the BBMP’s monthly council meeting, that running Indira canteens would be tough as no funds have been set aside for these in the state or BBMP budgets. In 2018-19, state government had allocated Rs 145 cr for the canteens. However, of this, only Rs 115 cr was released, whereas the expenditure of the canteens came to Rs 137 crore. To bridge the gap, BBMP had to spend over Rs 21 cr from its resources.

The ‘pet project’ of the Congress offers breakfast at Rs 5, and meals twice a day at Rs 10. But as funds have not been allocated, the BBMP is not able to pay contractors. Hence, the canteens seem to be on the verge of closing down.

Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun, however, said that the “ambitious welfare programme” would be continued. The 173 static and 18 mobile Indira canteens in the city feed lakhs of citizens every month. Funds can be diverted from BBMP’s welfare scheme for the canteens, she said.

Source: The Hindu | MoneyControl | The News Minute

Bangalore University campus to be geo-tagged

Bangalore University has decided to geo-tag its Jnanabharathi campus, which is spread over more than 1000 acres, to detect and prevent encroachments. The exercise would enable the university to get a realistic satellite view of the campus.

It would also help monitor and plan initiatives such as road maintenance, protecting green cover and constructing new hostels or buildings. Many portions of the campus have been claimed by various individuals, and are under litigation. After the geo-tagging is completed, the data would be uploaded on the university’s portal.

Source: The Hindu

Clearing potholes is priority: Outgoing Commissioner

Outgoing BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said that civic officials have been directed to get potholes filled on priority. At a BBMP Council meeting where the abysmal state of roads was discussed, Prasad said that a fine of Rs 2000 had been levied on 10 engineers for not filling potholes in their jurisdictions. He added that in case of “accidents or untoward incidents” due to potholes, compensation would be deducted from the concerned engineer’s salary.

BBMP has drawn up a list of roads that are still under the defect liability period – if potholes are found on such roads, the contractors would be made to fill these up immediately. While tenders to fill potholes have been floated in some wards, in others, the task would be entrusted to the Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Ltd (KRIDL).

Potholes remain a problem in many wards such as Herohalli in Yeswanthpur assembly constituency. A number of crater-like potholes in the roads in Herohalli are troubling commuters, especially two-wheeler riders.

Source: The Hindu | Bangalore Mirror

HC asks state to monitor emission testing centres

The state government should ensure that emission testing centres (ETCs) are not involved in illegalities or irregularities, said the High Court. ETCs play an important role in controlling vehicular air pollution, HC pointed out.

A division bench was hearing a PIL requesting action against ETCs involved in irregularities. The Transport Department has explained, in status reports to the court, that criminal cases have been registered against nine ETCs, and that the licences of six have been cancelled.

Source: The Hindu

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]