Bengaluru Buzz: New COVID rules | Pourakarmikas on strike | Parents slam private schools … and more

weekly news roundup from bengaluru

A resident of a containment area being tested for COVID-19 in a fever clinic. Pic: BBMP Commissioner/Facebook
File Pic: BBMP Commissioner/Facebook

Revised COVID guidelines

Due to rising COVID cases, the State Health and Family Welfare Department has issued revised guidelines for apartment complexes, educational institutions and offices, based on recommendations of the COVID Technical Advisory Committee.

Apartment complexes with three to five cases on a floor are now considered small clusters, and symptomatic individuals on the floor should be tested. If more than five cases are detected, all symptomatic individuals in the block/tower should be tested. And if more than 15 cases are reported, all symptomatic individuals in the complex should be tested. Swimming pools and other recreational areas are to be closed until the last patient recovers, after which the venues should be sanitised for use. However, towers or floors need not be sealed.

Domestic workers who are healthy, asymptomatic and aged below 60 can enter the complexes, but should wear N-95 masks.

Masks are mandatory in offices and educational institutions. Symptomatic people should take RAT test, and if positive, should isolate and follow protocols. If RAT is negative, they should take an RT-PCR test, isolate and await results.

The number of COVID hospitalisations more than doubled in the city within 10 days. There were 31 hospitalisations till June 16th, which increased to 72 by June 27th, said a BBMP bulletin. Though there are 600 to 700 cases a day in the city, most are asymptomatic and under home isolation. BBMP Special Commissioner (Health) Dr K V Trilok Chandra said that hospital occupancy was restricted to general wards.

Source: Deccan Herald, The Times of India

Pourakarmikas on indefinite strike

BBMP pourakarmikas are on an indefinite strike, demanding abolition of contractual employment and regularisation of all employees. Though the state government had ordered the regularisation of cleaning workers’ services back in 2017-18, only 10,755 out of 54,512 workers have been made permanent so far.

The strike has partially affected solid waste management in the city. Most of the 16,000 pourakarmikas on contract with BBMP for street-sweeping have stayed away from work. Door-to-door garbage collection has also been partially affected. Some garbage vehicle drivers have also joined the protest. 

Source: The Hindu

Parents fume at fees charged by private schools

A Twitter storm by parents of private school children, many of them members of the collective VOPK (Voice of Parents Karnataka), slammed schools pressurising parents to buy books, uniforms and other items at the schools and charging “excess” fees. Asking the government to take action, parents said that schools were pricing items 50% higher than the market rates. They also objected to the high transportation fees schools charge.

VOPK said the schools’ practices violate the Karnataka Education Institutions (Classification, Regulation and Prescription of Curricula) amended rules, 2018. They have filed complaints to the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the district education regulatory authority.

Meanwhile, D Shashi Kumar of KAMS (Associated Management of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka), said schools should not sell above the MRP or insist that parents should buy only from them.

Source: Deccan Herald, The Hindu


Read more: Private schools have come up with widely differing plans to bridge the learning gap


Fines to enforce single-use plastic ban

From Friday, users and manufacturers of single-use plastic (SUP) items would be fined by the KSPCB (Karnataka State Pollution Control Board) and BBMP. This is for strict enforcement of the nationwide ban on SUP announced by the Central Pollution Control Board.

Single-use plastic items
Single-use plastic items are banned. Pic Credit: Trosmisiek/Commons.Wikimedia

Many items such as carry bags, cutlery, banners and wrapping films, except items from the medical sector, are included in the ban. Retailers and street vendors, manufacturers and producers will be fined as per the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021.

Source: The Hindu

Power tariff hike

From July 1st, a Bengaluru consumer using 100 units of electricity per month would have to pay an additional Rs 31. The KERC (Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission) has approved a proposal submitted by electricity supply companies to revise power tariffs. Bescom (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company) customers need to shell out an extra 31 paise/unit, followed by Hescom (27 paise/unit), Gescom (26), Mescom (21) and CESC (19). The new tariff would be applicable till December this year.

Opposition leaders lashed out at the government for the hike during times of high inflation and fuel price rise, adding that the power tariffs had been hiked just three months ago in April.

Source: Indian Express

BMTC may buy diesel from private fuel stations

Given the disparity in diesel prices paid by retail customers and bulk buyers, the BMTC (Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation) may soon start buying diesel from private fuel stations. Currently, diesel is available at Rs 88 per litre at retail outlets, but its bulk purchase rate is Rs 119 per litre.

As there are 6,803 BMTC buses in the city, there is concern that these buses could cause traffic jams when queuing up at retail stations. BMTC Managing Director G Sathyavathi said they had informed the Union ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the state government of the issue.

Source: Indian Express

Govt initiative to bridge learning gap stalled

Almost a month-and-a-half since Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai launched the Kalika Chetarike programme to bridge COVID-induced learning gaps among students of Classes I-IX, the programme is stalled due to the lack of worksheets.

The state project director of the department of public education stated in an order that the printing of worksheets was in its final stages, but schools should seek help of donors to print photocopies of the first month’s worksheets. However, teachers complained that getting donors was not a viable option. The government has promised to deliver the worksheets in the next 10-15 days.

Source: Indian Express

Pre-University Department orders fee reimbursement for girls

The DPU (Department of Pre-University) education, on Wednesday, ordered that girls should be reimbursed Rs 456, the fee reimbursement that had been promised during their admission in 2019-20. The government usually gives this exemption to girls at the time of PU admission.

The department also announced that the reimbursement for 2022-23 would be made to the girls directly. In the past two years, the reimbursements had been made to the PU principals’ accounts.

Source: Indian Express


Read More: These girls want to study, but will be college dropouts


Rs 200-cr for 67 lakes

State government has announced Rs 200 crore to restore 67 lakes under the Amruth Nagarothana scheme. These include lakes where work had been halted due to lack of funds. In 2018, BBMP had requested Rs 200 crore from the government to revive lakes.

Source: Indian Express

Electric Vehicle expo

An EV expo organised by the state government kicked off at Chamara Vajra, Palace grounds, on Friday. The expo, which will go on till July 3rd, aims to promote green energy and create an ambience for EVs.

Karnataka had announced its EV policy in 2017, and Bescom was nominated as the nodal agency to facilitate EV infrastructure. Bescom announced that it has developed an Electric Vehicle Mitra app that will give users information on EV charging stations, rates, and advance bookings for charging. 

Source: 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.