Bengaluru Buzz: Greens oppose project in Hesaraghatta grasslands | Bollards again on bus lane | Govt apathy in child abuse cases..and more

WEEKLY NEWS ROUNDUP FROM BENGALURU

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Hesarghatta lake, or what was once a lake. File pic: Arati Rao.

Activists protest ‘film city’ plan at Hesaraghatta

As the BJP government is reviving the proposal to set up a film city, apparently at Hesaraghatta, environmental activists are getting ready for a fight. One section of activists has written to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, asking him to drop the 345-acre grassland as a possible location for a film city as it would create a biosecurity threat to animal farms nearby.

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Environmentalists explained that the Hesaraghatta lakebed area, and grasslands in the nearby catchment, are an important reservoir of biodiversity. It could act as a large carbon sink, a powerful tool to mitigate climate change, as well as a refuge for endangered wildlife species such as the lesser florican and leopard.

The lake was even an important source of drinking water till 1994 and can be revived as a catchment area. The activists explained that they had submitted multiple proposals to the Forest Department to declare the 5,000 acres as a Conservation Reserve under section 36A of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

Forest Department officials said they already had a proposal to convert the grasslands into a conservation reserve.

Source: The Hindu

BBMP to install flexible plastic bollards on bus priority lane

The BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) will install plastic bollards designed by the DULT (Department of Urban Land Transport) to demarcate the bus priority lane on Outer Ring Road. BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar said that flexible plastic bollards would be installed, and that in certain spots there’d be interlocking plastic barricades.

This is expected to improve vigilance, instil discipline and prevent private vehicles – especially two-wheelers – from using the bus lane. Earlier, metal bollards had been installed but they were damaged during the trial run.

However, activists said that in addition to barricades, signages and punitive action against errant drivers are needed.

Meanwhile, BBMP has taken up the high-density corridor project by freshly asphalting a few stretches of roads, and remodeling pavements and drains. On Friday, after an inspection, Mayor Goutham Kumar said that asphalting on the stretch from Agara Junction to Central Silk Board had been completed.

Source: The Hindu | Deccan Herald

Security increased at JNC, students’ anti-CAA protests spirited 

Additional police personnel were deployed at Jyoti Nivas College (JNC) on Thursday after students protested against BJP workers putting up a banner supporting the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) on the college wall. A video of the altercation has floated on social media. MLA Ramalinga Reddy visited the college and assured students of their safety.

On Friday, over 250 people held a candle-light vigil, organised by the alumni of Jesuit institutions, at the grounds of St Joseph’s Boys’ High School. They showed solidarity with Delhi’s JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and the city’s JNC students.

On Monday, students across the city protested at Town Hall, questioning the violence against JNU students and demanding that the government take action against ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) members. The National Students Union of India held a protest at Maurya Circle as well.

Source: The Hindu | The Times of India | Deccan Herald

High Court slams govt for not registering child porn cases

The Karnataka High Court slammed the state government for ignoring 113 cases of child sexual abuse that involved pornography. The offences involved children in welfare homes, and had been disclosed in data published by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2018.

The Chief Justice, heading a Division Bench, said that the senior-most officer of the police department may be asked to appear before the court, to explain the failure to register basic FIRs. The bench wondered how the state could claim that no such incidents had been reported when the central ministry had published the data.

The bench was responding to a PIL filed by the New Delhi-based organisations Bachpan Bachao Andolan and Sampurna Behura. These organisations had sought a direction to formulate a new or amended state child protection programme since the current policy restricts itself to school children. They have asked for a status report on the rehabilitation of the abused children, legal action against erring officials and a probe into the cases by a special investigation team.

Source: The Times of India

Workers protest at Freedom Park on Bharat Bandh

On January 8, Bharat Bandh affected banking services as well as work in industries and factories, as many workers joined the protest. However, the city’s buses and metro train services plied normally while schools, colleges, shops and business establishments remained open.

Since permission to hold a rally from Town Hall was denied, workers’ unions shouted slogans against City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao. Additional police was deployed in important areas such as Town Hall, KR Market and Majestic.

Thousands from workers’ unions then converged at Freedom Park, sat on the road and shouted slogans against the central government. Addressing the workers, CITU leader Meenakshi Sundaram said workers were literally on the streets as contract employees are losing their jobs and industries are closing down. The central government should implement schemes for job security in the unorganised sector, he said.

Source: Deccan Herald


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