Bangalore Buzz: ISKCON Could Run Indira Canteens | Bridge course for PUC students … and more

An Indira canteen. Photo Credit: Former Mayor Goutham Kumar/Twitter

BBMP gives more powers to area commissioners

The BBMP on Wednesday issued a notification, signed by Chief Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath, delegating more administrative and financial powers to its zonal commissioners. Zone commissioners had been appointed in the eight zones of the BBMP in April 2021 for better coordination during the pandemic. But they had little control over administrative and financial matters.

The departments of revenue, health, urban planning, solid waste management, education, road infrastructure, horticulture, forestry, livestock and projects will be led by their respective leaders. But all other departments will now be decentralized and work under the zones.

Housing Minister V Somanna said on Wednesday that each area commissioner would be granted special powers to fine Rs 1 crore for emergency use during the monsoon and also to register complaints against officers for dereliction of duty.

Source: Indian Express, The Hindu, The New Indian Express

Indira canteens can be handed over to ISKCON without a tender

The BBMP decided to ask the government to hand over 178 Indira Canteens to ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), without a tender. Tulasi Maddineni, special commissioner (finance) at the BBMP, said Indira Canteen was a social protection program and therefore could not be run by companies with commercial interests. The cost of meals borne by beneficiaries would remain the same after handover.

Tulasi said Indira Canteen’s name would not be changed and the bills would be settled soon. The decision was made due to complaints about the quality of food served in the canteens.

Some have questioned the BBMP’s decision. Vinay Sreenivasa of Bahutva Karnataka, a coalition of progressive organisations, said handing over food supply contracts without tender would amount to corruption.

Source: The Hindu, The New Indian Express, Deccan Herald

Read more: Bengaluru lockdown: Indira Canteens will serve three meals a day to low-income groups

PRR project delay stresses landowners

The inability of the BDA (Bangalore Development Authority) to acquire the land for the Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) in time has created stress among those involved, especially the private landowners. About 2,567 acres of land in 78 villages are to be acquired for the project. The BDA has left it to the government to decide whether or not to implement the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Act 2013, which will more than double acquisition expenditure. During a field survey for the project, the losers of the land had sought compensation under the 2013 law.

The project was delayed for 14 years, during which the landowners could not negotiate or build on their land. They demanded additional compensation for the delays, while some asked for no-objection certificates to sell their land.

Source: Deccan Herald

Bescom (Bengaluru Electricity Supply Company) said it would waive fixed electricity charges for hotels and restaurants registered with the Department of Tourism. BESCOM MD, P Rajendra Cholan, assured that the amount waived for April-June 2021 would soon be refunded. Cholan also said uninterrupted power would be provided to commercial establishments and transformers would be upgraded.

Source: Indian Express

AAP protests against the closure of 3 government schools

Members of the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) launched a 24-hour hunger strike in South Bengaluru on Friday, demanding the reopening of three government schools in Chickpet. They alleged that the schools had been closed so that the land could be given to private real estate companies. The party has threatened to intensify its protest, including outside the home of Education Minister BC Nagesh, if its demands are not met.

Source: Deccan Herald

Read more: BNP and AAP bring transparency and governance issues to BBMP poll debate

Gateway classes for PUC students

As the first classes of Pre-University College (PUC) are set to start on June 9, institutions in Bengaluru are planning to offer bridging courses to help students bridge the learning gap due to the pandemic in over the past two years.

A pre-university college (PUC)
PUC classes will start from June 9th. Photo credit: sharky 1005/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

SSLC exam results were announced last week. Some teachers said the science stream was in demand again at PUCs, a change from the demand for commerce in recent years.

Source: Indian Express

Electric Vehicle Adoption Study

According to a study by CSTEP (Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy), the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in India is determined by the purchase price rather than the TCO (total cost of ownership). The study recommended provisions to reduce the capital cost of electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles, public transport and non-motorized transport can reduce emissions, but their adoption requires a change in behavior. Therefore, consumer preferences and the factors that influence them need to be understood, in order to design effective interventions, according to the study.

Source: Indian Express

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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