Bengaluru Buzz: Lockdown tensions | Passes for commute | Pourakarmikas under stress…and more

weekly news roundup from bengaluru

Teams of BBMP and police on a drive to issue home quarantine notices and stamps in south Bengaluru. Pic: Twitter handle of DCP (South) Rohini Katoch Sepat.

Lockdown tensions

Just a few hours before the 21-day national lockdown started, there was a sudden rush of people trying to return to their hometowns, even though buses and other vehicles were off the roads. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had allowed a final window till Tuesday midnight by lifting the ban on inter-district movement that had been enforced since Monday. The move was apparently to enable people to celebrate Ugadi, but the rush undid social distancing. Moreover, several thousands were stuck at various toll booths.

An official memo signed by the City Police Commissioner, Bhaskar Rao, revealed that passes for movement will be issued only to a few services like private security guards, petrol, gas and LPG retail employees, banks, ATMs and insurance company employees, delivery agents of food aggregators and online pharmaceutical companies.

Thousands associated with essential services queued up outside the offices of the Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs) across the city on Thursday. It was the first day available to them to apply for passes for commuting. The police struggled to maintain social distancing. Only those with masks were allowed in, and everyone was compulsorily asked to use sanitisers before entering.

Meanwhile, the government decided to stamp all the primary and secondary contacts of those who had been stamped previously and kept under isolation/quarantine. These persons will also be subjected to home quarantine, said BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar.

The CM held a video conference with Deputy Commissioners and directed district administrations to reserve at least 50 hospital beds in every district for isolation. Although movement of essential goods have been exempted from lockdown, he asked officials to take action against anyone found inflating prices of essential commodities. He also issued orders that all clinics have to be open all days and that action should be initiated against clinics that are shut down.

Source: Indian Express | The Hindu

Mutton price touches Rs 1000 per kg

Mutton prices have increased unprecedentedly in several parts of Bengaluru, even touching Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 per kg as against the normal range of Rs 500-600. A meatseller blamed it on the lack of transport facilities and the lockdown.

The price rise affected many who bought meat for the non-vegetarian feast of Hosa Thodaku, celebrated a day after Ugadi. On the day, many bought meat in a hurry, fearing it may be unavailable later. They also feared the police might come anytime to stop the sales as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 since social distancing was hardly maintained.

Source: The Hindu

Pourakarmikas suffer due to lack of transport, food

Even though BBMP has arranged BMTC buses and food packets to help essential workers, pourakarmikas are yet to benefit. In the absence of transport facilities, they have to walk several kilometers to their workplaces early in the morning. BBMP has reduced pourakarmikas’ work hours to four hours – from 6.30 am to 10.30 am.

Pourakarmikas are also finding it difficult to get food as Indira Canteens are now closed. The workers are also worried about their health as they have to handle an increasing number of discarded masks, which are often not even wrapped.

Meanwhile, the Joint Commissioner (Finance), BBMP, said that 1.7 lakh food packets would be distributed to migrant labourers, construction workers, and others in need. BBMP Commissioner has directed officials to identify the beneficiaries and to look for suitable places to distribute the food.

The southern and northern divisions of the police are distributing food, snacks, water and sanitisers to many in need. Rohini Katoch Sepat, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South), said she had instructed all police stations under her jurisdiction to find sponsors to distribute essential items.

Source: The Hindu  | Deccan Herald

Schools ignore govt directive to suspend admission process

Although the Department of Public Instruction has given clear instructions to suspend the admission process until further orders, a number of private schools in the city are allegedly pressuring parents to pay tuition fees for the 2020-21 academic year. Some of them are run by ministers and elected representatives.

Earlier this month, the department instructed all schools — including those affiliated to the CBSE, the ICSE and the state board — to suspend the admission process for the next academic year, until further orders.

Source: Deccan Herald

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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