Bengaluru’s drinking water highly polluted
Most Bengalureans are consuming highly contaminated water due to pathogens in BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board) supply, borewells and sumps, according to a study by the Ramaiah Advanced Testing Laboratory (RATL). Besides, heavy metals and toxic chemicals have contaminated groundwater, the study found.
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RATL analysed water samples from BWSSB taps, borewells and sumps from 100 residential areas for over a year. One-third of these samples showed traces of E. coli bacteria, which can lead to bloody diarrhoea and even kidney failure.
All 80 samples collected from BWSSB taps showed some form of contamination – 22 samples had E. coli, and 43 showed high levels of TBC (total bacterial contamination). Seventy four samples failed the colour test, indicating contamination by entry of stormwater or sewage.
Borewells had the highest percentage of failure, as 30 out of 43 samples tested showed E. coli, 34 showed high TBC and 42 failed the colour test. Hardness was seen in 25 samples. Water samples from overhead tanks and underground sumps indicated the worst multiple contaminations, and the need for regular cleaning. Even RO (reverse osmosis) filters and 25-litre plastic cans are not safe, as they show traces of E. coli, the study found.
Analysis of 150 groundwater samples from various areas showed these were contaminated with mercury, nickel, magnesium, aluminium and nitrate.
A recent 21-city study by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) had also revealed that Bengaluru’s water is unsafe.
Source: Deccan Herald | The Times of India
Cops penalise motorists straying into bus lane
The Bengaluru Traffic Police has started imposing penalties on motorists straying into the bus priority lane on ORR (Outer Ring Road). The action began a fortnight after the City Police Commissioner notified a ban on vehicles – except BMTC buses and emergency services – on the lane. Awareness campaigns had also been held for a month.
On Saturday night, traffic cops fined about 500 motorists, including two-wheeler riders, who strayed onto the lane. Weekdays would be more stressful as hundreds of tech park employees would be commuting on the ORR. Violators are being booked under ‘Other offences’ of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The fine amount is Rs 500 for the first offence and Rs 1000 for every subsequent one.
However the system is not fool-proof, according to activists, as entry and exit points for service lanes are yet to be demarcated. Since the bus priority lane is towards the left of the road, other issues – such as the location for private vehicles to pick up or drop off people – also have to be worked out. The lack of actual barriers to the lane is also an issue.
Due to manpower shortage, the traffic police had earlier asked the BBMP to deploy 200 marshals or home guards to monitor the ORR.
Source: The Hindu | The Times of India
Hulimavu residents protest
About a hundred residents of Royal Residency Layout near Hulimavu lake staged a protest on Saturday morning, demanding that the culprits behind the lake bund breach on November 24th be booked. They also demanded quick compensation for the people affected.
The BBMP had announced compensation of Rs 50,000 for the 353 families whose houses had got flooded. It has released compensation for 156 families from lower socio-economic groups. Residents are demanding that the compensation be commensurate with losses. BBMP estimates that the cost of the damage is as high as Rs 29 crore.
An official in the investigation team said that a report has already been submitted to the government on the incident, but protestors said that all affected houses had not been covered. Police has registered a case against a BWSSB assistant engineer, but has not identified the person who used earthmover to break the bund.
Police said they were doing a meticulous probe and not rushing to make arrests, as the culprits could be imprisoned up to five years.
Source: The Hindu | The Times of India
Couple and five children rescued from brick kiln
Magadi Road police rescued a couple and their five minor children who had been forced into bonded labour at a brick kiln in Ramanagara. They had been bonded labourers even before they were brought to Ramanagara nine months ago.
The family was previously working in another brick kiln in Ramanagara; the owner of the kiln had given them an advance of Rs 20,000. The current employer paid part of this money back to the earlier one, and brought the family to his brick kiln. The couple worked for 14 hours a day, six days a week, with a 15-minute lunch break. As they were denied exit from the kiln, they have not visited their hometown Haveri for two years.
The cops have filed an FIR against the kiln’s owner under sections of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act and also for criminal intimidation.
Source: The Hindu
Fine on stray cattle may go up
In the wake of complaints by citizens, BBMP is planning to hike penalties on owners who let their cattle stray onto roads. The fine currently is Rs 600 per head of cattle, and Rs 300 per head of calf, under Section 10 of the Karnataka Cattle Trespass Act, 1966.
The hike in fines has to be approved by the BBMP Council first. The hike will take into account BBMP’s expenditure for the vehicle fitted with hydraulic lift to catch cattle, personnel, and the cost of feeding cattle at the cattle pound.
Source: The Hindu
[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]