Bengaluru Buzz: SEC for speeding up BBMP polls | Voter data fraud probe… and more

WEEKLY NEWS ROUND-UP FROM BENGALURU

A photo of a session of the Bangalore Literature Festival
Representative image. Lit fest begins on December 3rd. Pic: bangaloreliteraturefestival.org

SEC seeks to speed up BBMP polls

The SEC (State Election Commission) filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the government to issue a fresh notification to fix the reservation for the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) wards immediately. The SEC alleged to the courts that the state government is seeking three more months to issue a notification, so that it can delay the BBMP elections beyond May 2023. The Assembly polls are due before May, so if the election schedule is declared, then the BBMP elections would get postponed indefinitely.

The hearing on the state application seeking three more months has been adjourned.

Source: The Hindu

Voter data fraud probe: BBMP staff protest

After five BBMP revenue officers were arrested over the electoral data fraud, at least 30 BBMP revenue officers are seeking anticipatory bail. They submitted a representation to the CMO (Chief Minister’s Office), stating that the ongoing investigation by more than one agency is causing “mental torture and harassment”.

The BBMP staff threatens to shut down the civic body if any more government officials are arrested, accusing agencies investigating the voter data fraud case of violating their human rights. “If one more person is arrested, we will shut down the BBMP, ” said Amrut Raj, president of BBMP Officers and Employees’ Welfare Association. He added that investigations by multiple agencies violated their human rights and only a single agency should probe.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission extended the last date for filing claims and objections in Shivajinagar, Chickpet, and Mahadevapura Assembly constituencies, where the Chilume Educational Cultural and Rural Development Trust, the NGO, is alleged to have been involved in electoral roll manipulation.

The EC directions followed a day after three special officers were appointed to review the electoral rolls in the three constituencies. While the period for filing claims and objections was from November 9th to December 8th, it is now extended till December 24th. The final electoral rolls of these constituencies will be published on January 15th, while it will be published by January 5th in others.

Source: Indian Express, Deccan Herald, Indian Express


Read More: City activists take plunge into politics with BBMP polls


Bangalore Lit Fest

The 11th edition of the Bangalore Literature Festival will start on December 3rd, at Hotel Lalit Ashok. The two-day festival will feature over 250 international, Indian, and city authors and speakers, four programme forums, and two children’s venues, said organisers.

There will be fiction and non-fiction topics, including history, biographies, translations, literature, religion, mythology, travel, art and music, feminism, food, cinema, publishing, technology, startups, and more. It will host several authors and speakers, including historian William Dalrymple, author and poet Jerry Pinto, poet and novelist Jeet Thayil, researcher and journalist Akshaya Mukul, author-politician Arun Shourie, author-playwright Cyrus Mistry, screenwriter-children’s writer Honey Irani, and author and constitutional lawyer J Sai Deepak, among others.

Source: Indian Express

Ire over heavy vehicle curbs

Lorry drivers and businesses protested the prohibition of heavy transport vehicles between 8 am and 11 am, asking the traffic police to make alternative arrangements. Though the law is not new, the police seem to be strictly enforcing it during peak hours currently, to enable smooth traffic.

Traffic jam at Silk Board junction, Bengaluru
Heavy transport vehicles are not allowed between 8 am and 11 am. Pic: Wikipedia.org

G R Shanmugappa, president of the Federation of Lorry Owners and Agents Associations, said that many drivers are complaining about long waits at checkpoints on the outskirts, such as Tumkur Road and Hosur Road. He added that lorry drivers had long been demanding that wholesalers shift their godowns to the outskirts. But police sources said that the police are allowing heavy vehicles meant for essential supplies. Only those with no emergency needs are being stopped during the peak hours.

Source: Indian Express

Plan to restore 312 lakes

A list of 312 lakes is under scrutiny for restoration by the state government and CSR funds. Prepared by the Bengaluru Urban Zilla panchayat, the record shows that Bengaluru South has 90 lakes, Bengaluru East 18 lakes, Bengaluru North 18 lakes, Yelahanka 44 lakes and Anekal 142 lakes. The list has been sent to the EMPRI (Environment Management and Policy Research Institute), to draw up DPRs (detailed project reports), after which the district authorities would seek funds from the governments.

A senior official said that this is Phase-2 of the restoration of the lakes under the Zilla Panchayat custody. Under Phase-I, a list of 150 lakes was sent to the EMPRI for DPRs, at a cost of Rs 11 crore. The DPRs will list areas like encroachment, construction of walkways around the lakes, beautification of lakes, and restrooms.

Meanwhile, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Southern Zone, on November 30th, directed the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to submit reports on measures taken to prevent the entry of sewage into the KR Puram lake.

Source: Indian Express


Read More: The Secret Life of Bengaluru’s Lakes: Envisioning a future


Ward works mooted

An action plan with 2,543 BBMP works will be undertaken with ward-wise plans by the Chief Commissioner, Tushar Girinath. They will be accessible to citizens through the POW (Programme of Works) on its website. The BBMP has set aside Rs 867 crore for the project this year, with an annual grant released for each of the 243 wards, for basic works, such as cleaning drains, fixing streetlights, and improving footpaths and bylanes. The BBMP consulted legislators, due to the absence of corporators.

Wards at the outer peripheries, marked out due to poor infrastructure, have received an average of Rs 4 crore, while the ones that are in the city centre have received Rs 3 crore each. The BBMP is floating tenders to execute the works, including repairing footpaths, filling potholes, desilting drains, maintaining borewells, engaging tractors and labourers, supplying drinking water through tankers, constructing drains, providing LED streetlights and development programmes for economically weaker sections.

Meanwhile, at least five government agencies received BBMP’s consent to dig up a total of 315 kms of roads for laying underground utilities. Restoring the dug-up roads will now be the responsibility of the agency. The BBMP approved the digging up of 303 km of roads in as many as 43 places in 2021. This year, the BBMP has approved the digging up of 12.10 kms of roads covering 29 places.

Source: Deccan Herald, 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.