Bengaluru Buzz: Poll plans roll out | ‘Dahi’ gives way to ‘mosaru’ … and more

Weekly news round-up from Bengaluru

Voters waiting for their turn outside a booth in Malleshwaram
Representative image. Voters waiting for their turn outside a booth. Pic: Shree D N

Poll plans roll out

Many are worried that as civic officials have been posted to election duties for the upcoming Assembly polls on May 10th, the ongoing infrastructure projects will be affected. Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said that urban apathy is a concern in elections. Against the 72% polling in the state in the 2018 Assembly elections, the city’s constituencies had only around 55% polling. He said that the EC (Election Commission) has reached out to IT firms, colleges and start-ups to increase awareness.

To increase voter participation, the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) listed out some initiatives in a voter awareness programme with district election officers, chief commissioners of the city, and other election officers for systematic voters education and electoral participation (SVEEP) activities. They will reach out to the young, first-time voters, migrant labourers, transgenders and other marginalised sections too. Its outreach programmes will include the Swiggy application, electoral literacy clubs, street plays, contests, bike rides, rallies, and walkathons.

Sources said that Bengaluru district (including BBMP Central, BBMP North and BBMP South and Bengaluru Urban) have 95.13 lakh voters and 8,615 polling stations. BBMP chief commissioner Tushar Giri Nath held a video conference with representatives of Resident Welfare Associations of all eight zones. About 2,900 voter awareness forums have been created. Targeted social media campaigns through Google, Facebook and Instagram will be used.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet’s decision to scrap the 4% reservation granted to Muslims, under the 2B category, has sparked off debates. Members of the Touchable Banjara community pelted stones at the former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s residence, protesting the government’s recent decision to introduce internal reservations among Scheduled Castes.

Source: Deccan Herald, The Hindu, Indian Express

Read more: Bangalore Apartments’ Federation presents charter for elections–property ownership, public transport among key concerns

One-time tax settlement plan

A one-time settlement scheme has been mooted to end a property tax dispute with state, central government and public sector undertakings, so that all pending arrears can be cleared through lower interest rates. The cabinet’s assent could earn BBMP Rs 200 crore in property tax arrears.

The departments that owe BBMP include KPCL (Rs 20 crore), KPTCL (Rs 58 lakh), BESCOM (Rs 18 lakh), BMTC (Rs 35 crore), GKVK campus (Rs 15 crore), Income Tax (Rs 2.9 crore), HAL (Rs 57 crore), HMT (Rs 2.54 crore), and Railways (Rs 25 crore). Officials said the scheme plans to keep the base property tax payment the same, even as the interest on the total tax payable would be on RBI bank rates.

Source: Deccan Herald

CM urged to abolish contract labour

Writers, poets, filmmakers, educationists, social activists, intellectuals and civil society organisations wrote a letter to the Chief Minister, requesting that garbage vehicle drivers, cleaners and loaders be brought under the direct payment system. The solid waste management workers are on a protest that entered its 11th day on March 31st. The government had assured in July 2022 that it would abolish the contract system and bring pourakarmikas under the direct payment system.

The contract labour system is nothing short of bonded labour and denies workers, mostly Dalits, their basic rights. The workers are not paid wages for months, denied minimum wages, social benefits, weekly holidays and leave, the letter said.

Many bodies, such as Health for All, Ahara Namma Hakku, Bahutva Karnataka, All India Lawyers’ Association for Justice, All India People’s Forum, All India Progressive Women’s Association, and All India Students’ Association have signed the open letter.

Source: Indian Express

Centre withdraws use of hindi word ‘dahi’ on curd packets

The Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) withdrew its order to the Karnataka Co-operative Milk Producers Federation Limited that it should print the Hindi word ‘Dahi’, followed by the regional name in brackets, on curd packets. This was announced following backlash from pro-Kannada groups and even the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) board of directors, as being a move to impose Hindi.

A curd packet
The FSSAI withdraws its order over the Hindi word ‘dahi’ on the Nandini Probiotic Yogurt. Pic: Twitter/H D Kumaraswamy

Janata Dal (S) leader, H D Kumaraswamy, slammed the Centre for its ‘backdoor’ attempt to impose Hindi and tweeted that KMF’s Nandini is the pride of the state. His tweet went viral.

Source: Economic Times, Indian Express

Spare Mallathahalli Lake: HC to BBMP

The Karnataka High Court has ordered BBMP to deny permission for any construction or other commercial and recreational activities at Mallathahalli lake. Social activist Geetha Misra challenged its decision allowing RR Nagar’s leader Govindaraju to erect a Shiva statue on the tank bund, which flouted Section 12 of the Karnataka Conservation and Development Authority Act. 

In 2020, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) showed that only six lakes have good water quality and one of them was the two-century-old Jakkur Lake, one of the largest manmade lakes in the north-eastern part of the city. Its rejuvenation and maintenance is mainly due to the collective action of citizens, academic institutions, and government agencies.

Source: The New Indian Express, Indian Express

Read more: One man’s seven-day effort to preserve Gubbalala lake

6 station names changed

The BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited) has changed the names of six of the 12 stations in the Metro line from K R Puram to Whitefield so that the commuters can identify the stations with a local name, according to Metro officials.

The names were changed on the boards before the inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while the commercial operations of the new stretch started on March 26th. While KR Puram station’s name has been changed to Krishnarajapura, Whitefield station has been named Whitefield (Kadugodi). Mahadevapura has been renamed Singayyappanapalya and Hoodi Junction will now be called Hoodi. Likewise, Channasandra has been renamed Hopefarm Channasandra and Kadugodi as Kadugodi Tree Park.

Meanwhile, the last segment of 72 numbers, to finish the Metro’s Eastern Extension line was put up. Hence, the elevated viaduct portion (on which tracks are laid) between Baiyappanahalli and KR Pura Metro stations, might get completed by June-end.  

Source: The New Indian Express, Indian Express

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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The News Desk at Citizen Matters puts out Press Releases, notifications and curated information useful to the urban reader.