BBMP to take over all city lakes except three
All lakes in the city except Bellandur, Varthur, and Veerasandra will be handed over to the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike), according to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who is also the Bengaluru Development Minister. Also, 628 acre of lake land that has been encroached, would be cleared.
Bellandur and Varthur lakes are under the BDA (Bangalore Development Authority), and Veerasandra lake is with the BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd).
Currently, 169 out of 200 lakes in Bengaluru are under the BBMP. It will now take over 38 more lakes.
Officials said this move would solve the problem of inter-agency coordination, though the question of funding needs to be addressed. BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar said that they had earlier asked the government for around Rs 750 crore to develop 37 lakes, but the sanctioned amount was less than half of what was needed. Extra funds are needed now that BBMP would get more lakes, Kumar said.
Meanwhile, the BDA (Bangalore Development Authority), under the National Green Tribunal’s direction, has started restoring Varthur Lake which is full of silt, sewage and weeds. Steps are on to survey the lake and clear encroachments around it.
Meanwhile, NEERI (National Environmental Engineering Research Institute) submitted to the High Court that only two out of the 19 lakes it inspected can be rejuvenated through developmental activities and using rain as the main water source. For the remaining 17 lakes, NEERI is to submit detailed recommendations to the BBMP. The NEERI team had inspected the 19 lakes as directed by the court. The court directed the state government to submit an affidavit on taking action on this interim report.
Source: The Hindu | Bangalore Mirror | Deccan Herald
Doctors call off strike after Kannada activists surrender
Doctors called off their week-long strike on Friday, after Ashwini Gowda and 11 other activists of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) surrendered to the police. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had announced the statewide call to shut outpatient departments in private hospitals, after KRV activists allegedly assaulted a doctor on November 1, Kannada Rajyotsava Day.
The resident doctor at the state-run Minto Ophthalmic Hospital had spoken to the activists in English. When the activists demanded that she speak Kannada or else call her superior, she had refused to toe their line.
The controversy had started after victims of botched cataract surgeries at the hospital protested on November 1, backed by KRV. The victims are upset that their demand for justice is now overshadowed by the resident doctors’ protest. The surgery had adversely affected the vision of 24 patients, while some have completely lost their vision.
A seven-member external experts’ committee, set up by the government to look into the patients’ complaints, concluded that the effects were due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. The pharma company that produced the drugs was held responsible for the adverse effects. However, the patients have refused to accept this argument.
Source: Deccan Herald | The Hindu
Drains not covered as per Pollution Board’s directions, BBMP tells HC
The BBMP told the High Court that it does not cover stormwater drains (SWDs) with concrete slabs, as the KSPCB (Karnataka State Pollution Control Board) had directed local bodies in April to stop the practice.
BBMP said it had also obtained a technical view on this from M Inayathulla, a professor of UVCE (University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering), Bangalore University. His report had stated that covered drains are vulnerable to choking and silt accumulation, leading to flooding. Besides, silt removal and cleaning of drains become difficult.
The report also said that covered drains make it difficult to trace illegal sewerage outlets connected to SWDs, and to monitor surface flow from shoulder drains to main drains. Open SWDs also help in aeration of sewage, and increases self-cleaning capacity of drains, as per the report.
The Bench adjourned the case for further hearing.
Source: The Hindu
BMTC plans to reintroduce Bus Day
After a gap of two years, the (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) will relaunch its ‘Bus Day’ campaign, said former BJP MLA Nandiesha Reddy, who just took over as BMTC Chairman. The last Bus Day was observed in December 2017.
In 2010, BMTC started observing Bus Day on the 4th of every month, appealing to people to shift to public transport. Transport minister, bureaucrats and even movie stars had travelled in buses on Bus Day. BMTC also introduced new routes on the day, to spread awareness.
However, BMTC’s fleet has not increased by much since Bus Day was introduced. In 2010-11, the city had 6110 buses, and it still has only 6486 buses. Ridership has dropped from 43.5 lakh in 2010-11, to around 36 lakh now.
On the relaunched Bus Day, BMTC officials too will be asked to travel in buses. Reddy said that BMTC will also enhance the services of the subsidised Atal Sarige buses. He said that bus fares will be reduced, and services will be increased by adding 6000 buses in a phased manner.
Source: The Hindu | Deccan Herald
[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]