A people’s probe
Civil society organisations have formed a 23-member fact-finding committee to probe the violence that broke out in D J Halli and K G Halli on the night of August 11. This will be the fourth fact-finding committee probing the violence after the ones formed by the ruling BJP, the Congress and Citizens for Democracy. The committee will meet families of those affected, residents, police officials, media persons who were attacked and others, to establish the sequence of events leading to the violence. It’s terms of reference include establishing the role played by all parties concerned including Facebook, where the provocative post that allegedly triggered the violence was posted, in controlling the violence. The team will also look into whether the police firing, in which three youth were killed and three injured, was warranted.
The panel includes child rights activist Neena Nayak; independent journalist Cynthia Stephen; Dalit leaders V Nagaraj, Mohanraj and Hebbal Venkatesh; Leo Saldanha from the Environment Support Group; activists Geeta Menon and Madhu Bhushan; and Irshad Ahmed Desai and Tanveer Ahmed from the Movement for Justice. Anybody wishing to share information on the violence can contact the group through WhatsApp (8277288204) or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, the High Court of Karnataka explained that it would get a list of retired judges to consider the plea of the State government to appoint a claims commissioner to assess the damage caused to public and private property in the violence. A Division bench said a PIL petition too has sought appointment of a claims commissioner to assess the damage to public and private property, as on the lines of the government’s petition.
The state in its petition included Police Commissioner Kamal Pant’s report, which said 64 criminal cases have been registered in connection with the riots. The petition said 33 government vehicles and 109 private vehicles were completely burnt or damaged, eight private buildings were also damaged and arms and ammunition used by the police were destroyed by the mob.
Even as the police booked 61 persons under the UAPA and arrested more than 400, the government clarified that there was no decision on banning certain organisations that allegedly played a role in the mob violence. Karnataka Law Minister J C Madhuswamy, however, said that if required, the state government “will recommend the case to the Union Government to seek their guidance to ban or see that some action is initiated”.
Source: The Hindu | Deccan Herald | Indian Express | Economic Times | The Times of India
Low-key Ganesha celebrations
A number of guidelines have been issued to keep the Ganesha festivities low-key this year. For instance, idols should not be more than four feet high, and the celebrations as well as immersion should be conducted within four days.
Only one idol is allowed per ward for public installation, which adds up to just 198 Ganesha idols in the city. But BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) officials will decide who will be permitted to instal an idol in each ward.
The 58th edition of the Ganesh Utsav cultural fest, said to be the oldest in the city, will be telecast live on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter from August 22 to September 1, according to the organisers. Lord Ganesha will be worshipped at the mantap in the Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy temple in Basavanagudi. The daily puja will be live on social media. The public will be allowed at the mantap with strict adherence to social-distancing and masks.
Source: Deccan Herald | Indian Express
City slips to 214th in Swachh Survekshan Ranking
Bengaluru dropped further to 214th in the Swachh Survekshan ranking from the 194th place it held last year. The city scored 750.48 points out of 1,500 in the citizen feedback category; 703.91 points in service level progress; 702.44 points in direct observation, and 500 points in the certification score category. Waste management expert V Ramprasad said that the city is failing to adhere to the fundamental concepts of solid waste management such as door-to-door collection of segregated waste, transportation and processing. N Manjunath Prasad, Commissioner of BBMP, said that the civic body would improve the performance in the 2021 Survey.
Though it tried to replicate the Indore model in its garbage disposal system, the BBMP secured ‘zero’ points in the ‘Garbage Free City’ category. The failure to fully implement the chosen model affected the overall ranking.
As a consolation, the city won the best self sustainability award in the Megacity category.
Source: The Hindu | Deccan Herald | Indian Express
Battle against Covid
The government is engaging with about 50 NGOs to fight Covid. BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said that the organisations are mobilising volunteers by training and enabling them to carry out house-to-house surveys, identifying co-morbid patients, arranging ambulances and providing technological support.
With the surge in Covid-19 cases, the city had 37,863 containment zones as on August 18. Citizen quarantine squads are working closely with the BBMP and communities. Activists from Whitefield Rising said there is more clarity about the process. While the rules to contain the pandemic are changing, they are being communicated well, resulting in fewer complaints. BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said that while health-screening of people and sanitisation drives will continue, there will be no barricading within containment zones.
The Karnataka government has revised the guidelines for containment and buffer zones. Apparently, too many guidelines was making it difficult to conduct surveillance and ensure perimeter control. The revised guidelines state that a containment zone for an individual case — the area around a COVID-19 positive person — would be the floor of a residence in an apartment complex, the house or villa in which the patient resides for individual houses or the street in a slum. Further, for individual cases, authorities should paste a notice on the house, inform the neighbours/RWA/apartment owners association, identify contacts, advise strict home quarantine and ensure testing of contacts.
Source: Economic Times | The Hindu
Oxygen scarcity in hospitals
With hospitals reporting a threefold surge in oxygen consumption due to Covid-19, major suppliers are struggling to meet the demand. On Monday night, KIMS hospital had to move 47 patients to Victoria and Bowring hospitals, because of a shortage of supplies. Major oxygen suppliers have reached saturation point.
The breakdown of some oxygen plants is worsening the problem. It has been more than 11 days since an oxygen plant run by Japanese multinational Air Water Inc on the JSW Steel campus in Ballari district broke down.
Source: Deccan Herald
Public meeting for PRR
Despite clear instructions to postpone the public hearing for the PRR (Peripheral Ring Road) project, officials conducted the consultation meeting with a gathering of about 70 on Tuesday. The Rs 15,111-crore project that affects thousands, has been mired in controversy for years. The BDA (Bangalore Development Authority), the agency that proposed it, disclosed last month that 33,838 trees would have to be cut for the eight-lane road and not 200 trees as declared earlier.
Forest Minister Anand Singh said two officials of the KSPCB, who facilitated the meeting, had been summoned for enquiry.
Source: Deccan Herald
Rise in Vrishbhavathi River pollution
Industries on the banks of the Vrishbhavathi river had closed down during the lockdown, giving this urban river some respite. With Unlock, the pollution is said to have increased. The BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board) has made no bones about industrial effluent being illegally dumped into its network.
While residents allege that factories are letting effluent into the river, the Peenya Industries Association said it was working closely with the Karnataka Pollution Control Board to strictly monitor it.
The pollution index has increased because of other factors, including groundwater contamination, said the PIA representative. A Common Effluent Treatment Plant is on the cards for Peenya, with tenders to be floated in August, he revealed.
However, a member of the Namami Vrishabhavathi Foundation said the issue has been serious for many years, and a CETP in one area is not going to be of major help.
Source: The Hindu
[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]