Budget: Allocation for Bengaluru reduced
Allocation for the development of Bengaluru has come down drastically in the 2021-22 budget, as the state government has focused more on essentials owing to Covid. The budget has earmarked Rs 7,795 crore for the comprehensive development of Bengaluru.
Some of the projects include conservation of waterbodies, drain development, and suburban rail. Rs 850 cr has been allocated for suburban rail, and a similar amount for the doubling of two railway lines. Rs 950 cr has been allocated for the rejuvenation of Vrushabhavati and Koramangala valleys as well as their sewage treatment plants (STPs).
Some big-ticket projects like Metro connectivity to Kempegowda International Airport, “expeditious” completion of the airport’s second terminal, and long-pending projects like the common mobility card have been announced in the budget, but without clear allocations.
The budget has been criticised for its low allocation to the education sector. The allocation decreased to 12% from 12.5% in last year’s budget, even as education has been severely affected by the pandemic.
Source: Deccan Herald, The New Indian Express
Covid cases rising in March
The daily average of fresh cases in the city has shot up by 100 compared to that in February. While the daily average was 223 in February, it was 323 in the first 10 days of March.
According to the Department of Health and Family Welfare, the city has had 3,808 new cases over the last 10 days. Bellandur, Hagadur, Shantala Nagar and Gandhi Nagar wards clocked the highest percentage of cases in this period. Bellandur and Hagadur wards have consistently recorded the highest percentage of Covid cases since the start of the year, occasionally followed by the Shantala Nagar ward. Among zones, Mahadevapura has had the major number of cases since November.
On Maha Shivaratri, the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) deployed Marshals in all Shiva temples to enforce Covid norms. Covid guidelines for food handlers and caterers had been issued recently, and the now food commissionerate has empanelled private partners to train food handlers at city temples.
Meanwhile, Kameshwari J, 103, received her first dose of Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday, perhaps becoming India’s oldest woman to get vaccinated. Kameshwari was accompanied by her 77-year-old son Prasad Rao and other family members eligible for vaccination. On International Women’s Day, the state celebrated the participation of women in the fight against Covid by inaugurating an all-women’s pink vaccination booth at CV Raman Hospital.
Source: Deccan Herald, Indian Express, The Times of India
HC stops tree felling by KRDCL
Having felled more than 2,300 trees for road-widening around Bengaluru, the KRDCL (Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited) was on its way to clear more. But it has been stopped by the High Court. The court was looking into KRDCL’s claim that the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act would apply only within BBMP limits and not to the outskirts of Bengaluru.
A report by the court-appointed committee of experts from the University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK (Gandhi Krishi Vigyana Kendra), said that KRDCL has already felled 2,347 trees for road projects in different forest ranges including KR Puram, Yelahanka, Devanahalli, Nelamangala, Doddaballapura, Malleswaram and Ramanagara. It recommended that the number of trees to be cut further could be reduced to 1,721, from the sanctioned number of 5,297. The report also said that as many as 100 heritage trees could be saved if KRDCL makes minor changes in the project alignment.
Source: Deccan Herald, Bangalore Mirror
Demolition notice to 277 illegal religious structures
The BBMP, on March 5, issued show cause notices to 277 illegal religious structures built after September 29, 2009, the cut-off date set by the Supreme court to prevent such constructions. The managements of the religious structures have been given two weeks to respond, after which the BBMP will take decision on a case-by-case basis to demolish them.
BBMP submitted to the High Court that it had identified 2,170 unauthorised religious structures on public land overall. Of these structures, 1,893 were built before the cut-off date. Among these structures too, 240 have been recommended for demolition, 105 for relocation, and the remaining 1,548 for regularisation.
High Court had initiated the PIL suo motu, to enforce Supreme Court’s directions on preventing unauthorised religious structures on public property. The next hearing of the case is on March 26.
Source: The Hindu
Palace Ground acquisition: Govt to approach SC
The state government on Wednesday informed the High Court that it will file an interlocutory application (IA) before the Supreme Court, seeking review of its directions on acquiring Palace Grounds land for the widening of Jayamahal and Ballari roads. State government has maintained that the palace land and surrounding open space of 472 acres vests with the state. As per the Bangalore Palace (Acquisition and Transfer) Act, compensation to be paid to the Mysore royal family for this land would only be Rs 11 cr.
However, Mysore royal family members had challenged the Bangalore Palace (Acquisition and Transfer) Act before the Supreme Court. As per the SC order, TDR (Transferable Development Rights) worth around Rs 14,000 crore would have to be paid to the family.
Source: Deccan Herald
Many schools stop online classes
Schools are finding it difficult to comply with the state government’s order to conduct both on-campus and online classes, due to the limited number of teaching staff on their rolls. Many managements have stopped online classes for higher primary and high school students, as teachers are unable to juggle both sessions and also ensure that students have grasped concepts. Sources from the Recognised Unaided Private Schools’ Association, Karnataka, said that out of 5,000 higher primary and high schools affiliated to it, nearly 80% had stopped online classes as teachers were unable to manage the workload.
Following complaints of private schools restarting offline classes for lower primary students, Education Minister Suresh Kumar has directed officials to take action against them. Meanwhile, a petition has been filed in the Karnataka High Court, challenging government’s decision to not allow lower primary students to attend school. The next hearing of the case is on March 16.
Source: The Hindu, The New Indian Express
[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]