Citizens, industry bodies slam BESCOM’s tariff hike proposal
Citizens and industry representatives slammed BESCOM’s (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company) proposal to increase electricity tariff by Rs 1.96 a unit in the coming financial year.
At a public hearing held at the KERC (Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission) on Friday, the advocacy group B.PAC (Bangalore Political Action Committee) said the Commission should ask BESCOM to “submit realistic projections” and streamline power procurement at low costs, instead of passing on the increase in purchase cost to consumers.
As per B.PAC’s analysis, BESCOM has not shown any improvement in key metrics such as power purchase cost, energy sales, transmission and distribution losses, collection efficiency or quality of service. It has also not met the KERC-approved rates and sale levels. Between the Financial Year 2016 and 2019, sales went up only by 13 per cent, while the revenue increased by 41 per cent and the average power purchase cost increased by 31 per cent, as per B.PAC.
The Peenya Industries Association also urged the KERC to “reject” the tariff revision petition and sought creation of a separate tariff for small-scale industries. Power purchase cost should be reducing on account of the bountiful monsoon in 2019-20, the association said.
Source: The Hindu
Hotels to hike food, beverage prices
The BBHA (Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association) has increased food prices by up to 20 per cent. The hike will be effective from next week in about 2,000 small, medium and fine-dining hotels, and will affect all food and beverage items. This is due to the rising prices of essentials like refined oil, gas, milk, and other items like water, electricity and rent.
The price hike will be between Rs 2 to Rs 5 per item; prices in fine-dining restaurants will go up
by Rs 10. The rates will rise first in smaller hotels, followed by the medium and the fine-dining ones. The new prices will reflect on online food delivery portals too, according to sources from BBHA.
Source: The Indian Express | The Hindu
BBMP imported 400 waste bins from Germany for Rs 55 crore
Recently, BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) paid Rs 55 crore to Zonta Infratech, an Indian company, and Bauer Gmbh, a German company, to import 400 metal bins. The bins cost about Rs 3 lakh each. The German company had formed a consortium to bid for the project.
The work order of Rs 55 crore was divided into four components: Rs 11.8 crore was for the supply and installation of bins at 200 locations, at the cost of Rs 5.9 lakh for each location (whereas the German supplier had installed similar bins for Rs 1.5 lakh each, for clients in Europe). Rs 4.48 crore was for the supply of eight trucks, Rs 5.12 crore for operation and maintenance, and Rs 33.8 crore for emptying and transporting waste for five years.
However, the MD of Zonta Infratech, Raj Kumar, said the bins cost more mainly owing to customs duty, as these had to be imported from Germany. Mayor Gowtham Kumar said that the contract seemed to be a scam, and that the bins could have been manufactured locally.
Source: Bangalore Mirror
BBMP ward marshals collected maximum fines in January
BBMP ward marshals have collected the highest fines for rule violations in January – Rs 22.48 lakh in about 1,700 cases. The marshals had been roped into BBMP last September. They had collected a total of Rs 66 lakh in the past five months, with a monthly average of Rs 10-15 lakh, said BBMP sources. But in January, they crossed Rs 20 lakh.
The main reason for the increased fine collection is the crackdown on single-use plastic and related items, for which more than Rs 10 lakh was collected in January against Rs 3 lakh the month before. However, the SWM (solid waste management) violations remained the biggest offence in January, for which more than Rs 11 lakh was collected, compared to Rs 7 lakh in December.
Marshals are permitted to keep five per cent of the fines they collect. BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar claimed that 289 black spots in the city have been cleared with their help. And that at Bellandur and Varthur lakes, the dumping of construction and demolition waste had been stopped, encroachers evicted from buffer zones and fire incidents controlled, with the deployment of marshals.
Source: The Hindu | Deccan Herald
Police deny permission but anti-CAA protests continue
Freedom fighter and centenarian H S Doreswamy led a protest on the steps of Town Hall on Thursday, agitating against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of
Citizens (NRC). The protesters were defying police orders. It was on Wednesday late night that the police informed Doreswamy about denial of permission to protest. Doreswamy said he would hold a dharna in front of the office of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Central Zone, against this.
Police also barred protests at Freedom Park for four days, citing multiple protests in the area, however protesters went ahead. Historian Ramachandra Guha joined Doreswamy at Freedom Park, calling him the “moral conscience” of the state.
Hundreds of demonstrators, most of them techies, held a candlelight protest near Dairy circle in Bannerghatta Road on Saturday, and formed a human chain. Senior citizens, college students and mothers with children attended.
About 150 people, mostly women, started a three-day protest at Pillana Garden near Tannery Road on Saturday evening. Organisers said they were inspired by Shaheen Bagh and had worked out a tenuous agreement with the jurisdictional Pulakeshi Nagar police. However, Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) S D Sharanappa said his office had not been informed.
Meanwhile, protesters in the city took out a candlelight vigil demanding an immediate halt to the
“inhuman act” of the police at Bidar, where class 4 and 5 students were being questioned in a sedition case. The protesters also demanded protection of free speech, dropping sedition charges, and releasing the mother and teacher arrested.
Source: The Hindu | The Indian Express | Deccan Herald