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Congress deploys its force in Basavakalyan, Maski


The Opposition Congress has deployed its leaders in big numbers and is carrying out a focused campaign in the two Legislative Assembly constituencies of Basavakalyan and Maski rather than in the Parliamentary constituency of Belagavi, which are headed for byelections.

With a week left for campaigning, all top leaders, including KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, and KPCC working presidents Eshwar Khandre and R. Dhruvanarayan, have been campaigning in these two constituencies for the past few days in an effort to retain both the seats the party had won in 2018.

In Basavakalyan, Congress smells an advantage since BJP votes are likely to split following the presence of its rebel candidate and former MLA Mallikarjun Khuba. Sharanu Salagar is the official candidate of the BJP.

Sympathy factor

The Congress is expecting sympathy factor to work in favour of its candidate, Mallamma, wife of the former MLA late Narayanrao. The Congress defeated the BJP by a margin of 17,000 votes in 2018.

The JD(S) has fielded Syed Yasrab Ali Quadri and it is interesting to watch how the minority community votes here in this election.

Anti-incumbency?

In the reserved constituency of Maski, the Congress sees an opportunity because of a perceived anti-incumbency against the BJP candidate and disqualified MLA Pratapgouda Patil. Three-time MLA Mr. Patil, one of the 17 MLAs who defected and helped the BJP to come to power in 2019, is facing the Congress candidate, Basanagouda Turvihal. Mr. Turvihal had contested on the BJP ticket and lost to Mr. Patil by a slender margin of 213 votes in 2018. The BJP has deployed B.Y. Vijayendra, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurapp’s son, here.

A positive outcome in both these constituencies is crucial for the Congress to lift the spirit of its cadre. These polls are vital also for Congress leaders to regain the lost support for the party among the masses, particularly in north Karnataka.

The State Congress is yet to register a poll victory under the leadership of Mr. Shivakumar who assumed office as KPCC president last year. The party fought bypolls in Sira and Rajarajeshwarinagar under his leadership but lost both the seats.

Bypolls have been held in 19 Assembly constituencies since the 2018 polls. While the Congress won three seats — Kundagol, Shivajinagar, and Hunsur, the ruling BJP won 15 seats and an Independent won in Hoskote.



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Night Curfew In Bengaluru, 6 Other Cities In Karnataka From Saturday


Bengaluru has reported a surge in COVID-19 cases along with most major cities.

Bengaluru:

Bengaluru and six other cities in Karnataka will enforce a night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am starting Saturday, the government announced on Thursday, minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged states to announce fresh curbs to tackle soaring COVID-19 cases.

The curfew, which will be in place till April 20, will also be imposed in Mysuru, Mangaluru, Kalaburagi, Bidar, Tumakuru and Manipal, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced. “Essential services will continue,” he said.

Karnataka is among 10 states besides Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala and Punjab that have shown a steep rise in the daily COVID-19 cases accounting for 84.21 per cent of the record 1.26 lakh new infections on Thursday, according to the Union Health Ministry.

India’s COVID-19 cases have soared 13-fold in barely two months – a vicious second wave propelled by an open disregard for safety protocols nationwide – that has seen the third-hardest hit country soaring past its mid-September peak of around 98,000 cases a day.

Election rallies led by PM Modi and other major figures, as well as crowded festivals and religious gatherings, have characterised the record resurgence of the new coronavirus.

After quelling the first surge late last year, leaders have let down their guard. Allowing or even encouraging dangerous behaviour, they underestimated the virus, reopening the economy too fast and too broadly, experts say.

Days after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan declared India’s COVID-19 outbreak contained in late January, Mumbai reopened its massive suburban train network and authorities let tens of thousands of visitors into stadiums for international cricket matches.

Many of the country’s 135 crore people ignored masks and social distancing, while politicians including PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah greeted hundreds of thousands of mostly mask-less supporters at election rallies.

With 1.29 crore cases, India remains close behind Brazil and well below the United States, which has recorded more than 3 crore infections. India’s COVID-19 deaths are above 1.66 lakh, although its fatality rate is one of the lowest in the world, partly because of its relatively young population.



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CSTEP to help deal with air pollution


Enters into MoU with BBMP and KSPCB for efficient implementation of National Clean Air Programme

Bumper-to-bumper traffic, major road and other civic works taken up simultaneously have often seen the city turn into a dust bowl. Air pollution continues to be dangerously high despite widespread improvement in air quality during 2019 and 2020.

Now, under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) action plan for 120 cities, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) for efficient implementation of the programme.

CSTEP has been picked as an Institute of Repute (IoR) to work with Urban Local Bodies and State Pollution Control Boards. The recent development comes as the ‘World Air Quality Report, 2020’ compiled by IQAir has revealed that Bengaluru’s pollution levels were above the WHO prescribed limit in 46.7% of the days. The city’s annual average stands at 27.5 µg/m3, nearly three times the prescribed limit.

As part of the initiative, CSTEP will refine and help implement KSPCB’s 44-point action plan, involving nine government departments and divided into ‘short-term, mid-term and long-term’ plans. The plan, which was submitted to the Union government had not been approved. Officials said the KSPCB had been asked to explain what it meant by ‘long’ and ‘short’ term, and to send timelines. Later, they submitted a revised plan.

BBMP Special Commissioner (SWM) D. Randeep said the three-way MoU is a “purely non-financial technical support MoU”, wherein the IoR will help with implementation of the programme. “This is a time-bound programme. Apart from cleaning the streets, we also want to install air pollution monitors across the city, which will help us intervene in the right places with air mitigation efforts. We are also looking at a central command centre for BBMP,” he said.

Last year, it was revealed that an action plan for nine projects amounting to ₹279 crore and aimed towards reducing air pollution has been drawn up by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Action Plan Committee. Some of the projects including improving pedestrian facilities, using water sprayers and mechanical street-sweeping machines to tackle dust pollution, making urban spaces more green and keeping a check on open-air burning of municipal waste. The projects are being funded by the Centre under the Urban Local Body grant as recommended by the 15th Finance Commission.

In the first instalment, the Union government has released ₹2,200 crore, of which ₹139.5 crore has been sanctioned to Karnataka and transferred to the BBMP.

Pratima Singh, research scientist who leads the Air Pollution domain at CSTEP, told The Hindu that the NCAP, launched in 2019, is envisaged as a collaborative, cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder programme to tackle air pollution, and an Institute of Repute (IoR) will function as a technical partner and provide technical assistance to the ULB and SPCB.

“CSTEP will provide knowledge, advice and performance assessment, among others to BBMP and KSPCB. The BBMP’s action strategy includes procurement of mechanical sweepers, improvement of road infrastructure to reduce traffic congestion, and installation of water fountains at traffic junctions, and they have initiated work on this. Going forward, we will be preparing a more extensive action plan and implementation strategies for the city,” she said. The CSTEP has been working on similar plans for 80 cities, including Davangere and Kalaburagi in Karnataka.

Pollution arising out of transportation is a big challenge in major cities, she said. “More public transportation infrastructure is needed, which is not petrol and diesel driven. Dust is another major concern – arising out of roads, construction and demolition. Road dust reduction strategies, like end-to-end road pavement and covering the mud or soil on dividers with plants, are some of the measures that can be looked into,” she added.



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Nearly 500 Children Tested Positive For COVID-19 This Month In Bengaluru


Nearly 500 Children Tested Positive For COVID-19 This Month In Bengaluru

Bengaluru:

Karnataka’s capital, Bengaluru, is seeing a huge surge in the COVID-19 numbers and children are not being spared in this spike. As per the data released on Tuesday evening, Of the nearly 2,000 positive cases, 50 were children under the age of ten years. Around 500 children have tested positive for the highly contagious virus so far this month.

The city corporation, however, says there is no real surge in the cases among the very young.

“Since March 1, we have tested nearly 32,000 school students. Out of this, only 121 tested positive – just .38 per cent (of total cases). So, we can clearly say that children are not infected in large numbers in Bengaluru,” Manjunath Prasad, the outgoing Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner, told NDTV.

He said the group which is getting affected in the city is between the age of “20 to 40 years”.

The reopening of schools for some grades makes the situation different from last year when cases increased in the first wave. At that time, a lockdown was in place and schools were closed. Additionally, children are out of the house now more often now as compared to the days of the lockdown.

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had made it clear that despite the rising numbers, the schools would stay open.

“If children come to school they will be in one place with discipline. If they are at home they will be mixing with everybody. It is good for schools to continue from the point of view of control. Exams will be held in 15 days,” said Mr Yediyurappa.

Mr Prasad felt the same. “The situation does not warrant closing of schools for now,” he said.

However, not all students and parents are convinced.

Kanchana was picking up her child from school when she told NDTV, “Better to close the school – we should take care. And there are aged persons at home. “

Viriksha, a student, said, “In our school, social distancing is not being maintained. There are more corona cases and they are not testing also.”

With Covid protocols not always observed, everyone is vulnerable – and that includes the youngest members of our society.



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अगर आप एक और लॉकडाउन नहीं चाहते, तो सहयोग करें : येदियुरप्पा ने लोगों से कहा


इस साल 22 जनवरी के बाद पहली बार प्रदेश में कोविड-19 के 900 से अधिक मामले सामने आये हैं (फाइल फोटो)

बेंगलुरू:

Karnataka Coronavirus Updates: कर्नाटक में कोरोना वायरस (Coronavirus) संक्रमण के बढ़ते मामलों पर चिंता जताते हुए प्रदेश के मुख्यमंत्री बी एस येदियुरप्पा (BS Yediyurappa) ने रविवार को कहा कि यह महामारी राज्य में अनियंत्रित होती लग रही है. इसके साथ ही मुख्यमंत्री ने लोगों से कहा कि अगर वे एक अन्य लॉकडाउन (Lockdown) नहीं चाहते हैं तो महामारी की रोकथाम के उपायों का पालन कर सहयोग करें. मुख्यमंत्री ने प्रदेश में बढ़ते कोविड-19 मामलों के चलते अधिकारियों एवं स्वास्थ्य विशेषज्ञों की सोमवार को विधान सौध में एक बैठक बुलायी है. येदियुरप्पा ने बैठक बुलाने की घोषणा करते हुये कहा, ‘‘मैं हाथ जोड़ कर लोगों से सहयोग करने की अपील करता हूं… अगर लोग सहयोग करते हैं तो मुझे पूरा भरोसा है कि बिना लॉकडाउन के हम इसे नियंत्रित कर लेंगे.”

यह भी पढ़ें

महाराष्ट्र में कोरोना संक्रमण के 16620 नए मामले, 50 और मरीजों की मौत

महाराष्ट्र में कोरोना वायरस के संक्रमण के बढ़ते मामलों के बीच प्रदेश के कुछ हिस्सों में लागू किये गये लॉकडाउन के संदर्भ में कर्नाटक के मुख्यमंत्री ने लोगों से यह अपील की है. कोरोना वायरस के कारण पिछले साल मार्च में देशव्यापी लॉकडाउन लागू किया गया था जिसमें चरणबद्ध तरीके से ढील दी गयी थी. इसके बाद कर्नाटक में करीब करीब सभी गतिविधियों को अनुमति दी गयी थी.

दिल्ली में लगातार चौथे दिन 400 से ज्यादा कोविड-19 के नए मरीज, 24 घंटों में 407 केस

इस साल 22 जनवरी के बाद पहली बार प्रदेश में कोविड-19 के 900 से अधिक मामले सामने आये हैं. प्रदेश में कुल 921 नये मामले सामने आये हैं और इनमें से 630 मामले अकेले बेंगलुरू अर्बन जिले में आये हैं. पिछले सोमवार से प्रदेश में अब तक 4300 से अधिक नये मामले सामने आये हैं. इसके साथ ही प्रदेश में कोविड-19 संक्रमित मरीजों का आंकड़ा 9,59,338 पर पहुंच गया है. इनमें से 12,387 लोगों की मोत हो चुकी है जबकि 9,38,890 लोग संक्रमण मुक्त हो चुके हैं. प्रदेश में फिलहाल 8,042 मरीज उपचाराधीन हैं. यह आंकड़ा पिछले महीने 4,000-5,000 के करीब था.

येदियुरप्पा ने संवाददाताओं से कहा, ‘‘पिछले एक महीने से, ऐसा लगता है कि कोविड-19 अनियंत्रित होने जा रहा है. दिन ब दिन मामलों की संख्या बढ़ रही है. इसलिये हमने सोमवार को एक बैठक बुलायी है.” इससे पहले मुख्यमंत्री कार्यालय ने रविवार को बयान जारी कर बताया कि कर्नाटक में हाल के दिनों में कोरोना वायरस संक्रमण के मामलों में हुई वृद्धि के मद्देनजर प्रदेश के मुख्यमंत्री बी एस येदियुरप्पा ने सोमवार को अधिकारियों एवं स्वास्थ्य विशेषज्ञों की बैठक बुलायी है. बयान के अनुसार, यह बैठक सोमवार को शाम पांच बजे विधान सौध में होगी, जहां प्रदेश विधानसभा एवं सचिवालय स्थित है.

महाराष्ट्र: COVID केस बढ़ने पर CM उद्धव की चेतावनी, लॉकडाउन के लिए बाध्य न करें

(इस खबर को एनडीटीवी टीम ने संपादित नहीं किया है. यह सिंडीकेट फीड से सीधे प्रकाशित की गई है।)



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Marshals from SWM to be on COVID-19 duty for the next two months


In 11 days after BBMP decided to monitor wedding halls, it has collected ₹7.75 lakh in fines

With yet another cluster identified and more people testing positive for the virus, the civic body has decided to strengthen marshals on ground to enforce COVID-19 rules.

Addressing civic officials in a virtual meeting here on Friday, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said that for the next two months, marshals — who were until now deployed to monitor solid waste management and check littering in the city — will focus on ensuring that people are wearing masks, following social distancing protocols, and sanitising and washing their hands regularly.

Public announcements on precautions will be made by autorickshaws and compactors going to wards for waste collection “People have lowered their guard; we cannot take COVID-19 for granted,” said Mr. Prasad.

To ensure compliance, senior officials, accompanied by marshals, will visit cinema halls, markets, malls, and other crowded areas. “If many violators are found, close down the establishment,” he added, and instructed the Chief Marshal Col. Rajbir Singh (retd.) to levy fines on non-complying managements.

From February 25, when marshals began monitoring weddings and parties, till March 8, they have levied fines amounting to ₹7.75 lakh on citizens not wearing masks or maintaining social distance.

“Separate teams have been constituted and we have identified clusters with two or more weddings halls. There are some zones where no such clusters exist, while some zones have more than five such clusters,” said Mr. Singh

Citing the example of one area in Yeshwanthpur, he said there were at least 15 wedding halls on one road.

Between February 25 to 28, fines amounting to ₹2.92 lakh fines were levied and 1,171 cases booked against violators in marriage halls. From March 1 to 8, 1,929 cases were booked and ₹4.82 lakh fines levied.

From February 25 to March 8, a total of 3,057 cases were booked against those not wearing masks and ₹7.64 lakh in fines levied, while 43 cases were booked and penalty of ₹10,750 collected from those not maintaining social distance during the same period.

With more marshals to be deployed on COVID-19 duty the number of cases booked is expected to rise. “We need to intensify enforcement, as such gatherings and events could become super spreaders,” Mr. Prasad reiterated.

At the meeting, he also instructed officials to make enforcement an important agenda during ward committee meetings. Joint commissioners were directed to address residents’ welfare associations.

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Karnataka HC to hear Kangana’s plea on March 18


She has questioned FIR registered for her tweet criticising protest against farm laws

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday adjourned hearing till March 18 on a petition filed by film actor Kangana Ranaut challenging an order of a trial court in Tumakuru district directing the police to register a criminal case against her based on a private complaint filed by a lawyer alleging that her tweet on protest against farm laws amounts to inciting violence.

Justice H.P. Sandesh, before whom the petition came up for hearing, directed Ms. Ranaut’s advocate to rectify the objections raised by the court’s registry while ordering to post the petition for hearing on March 18. When her advocate requested the court to consider passing an interim order, the court said it would consider the plea after the defect pointed out by the registry was rectified.

A Judicial Magistrate First Class on in October 2020 had directed the Kyathasandra police in Tumakuru to register a first information report (FIR) and submit an investigation report to the court based on the complaint lodged by Ramesh Naik L., a Tumakuru-based advocate.

Ms. Ranaut had tweeted: “People who spread misinformation and rumours about CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act] that caused riots are the same people who are now spreading misinformation about Farmer’s bill and causing terror in the nation, they are Terrorists. You very well know what I said but simply like to spread misinformation.”

The complainant had alleged that her tweet on protest against farm laws attracted offence under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including under Section 153 for wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot, and under Section 153A for promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.

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Drone Camera Captures Big Protest By Teachers, Staff On Bengaluru Flyover


The protesters marched from Bengaluru’s main railway station to Freedom Park.

Bengaluru:

At least 3,000 teachers and non-teaching staff of private schools across Karnataka hit the streets today to protest, among other issues, the government’s decision to reduce the tuition fee.

Those who protested in state capital Bengaluru included drivers, attenders, security staff and members of school managements.

Drone footage showed thousands of people walking in protest on a flyover in Bengaluru.

The protest, organised by the Karnataka Private School Management, Teaching and Non-Teaching Staff Co-ordination Committee, saw over ten private schools organisations marching from Bengaluru’s main railway station to Freedom Park, a popular protest site.

A majority of private schools in Karnataka have declared holiday today after the state government’s order asking schools to charge only 70 per cent of the tuition fees this academic year. The protesting staff members are demanding that this order on fee concession be revoked. They’re also demanding the release of grants for teachers.



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After 10 Covid Cases, Another Bengaluru Apartment Complex Sealed


The district administration had started a mass testing drive in the apartment complex

Bengaluru:

A COVID-19 alert has been sounded in an apartment complex in Bengaluru after 10 people were found positive for the coronavirus, officials said on Monday.

The 10 Covid cases at the apartment complex having nine blocks with 1,500 residents were found between February 15 and 22, the civic agency BBMP’s commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said in a statement.

Based on the findings, six contagious blocks have been declared as containment zone by the BBMP, the officer said.

Today’s development comes days after another apartment complex in Bengaluru was declared a containment zone after 113 of its residents tested positive for coronavirus.

According to district officials, the surge in Covid cases was recorded just days after two marriage anniversary parties were organised in the residential society.

The district administration had started a mass testing drive in the apartment complex after around two dozen cases emerged from there in a couple of days.

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Most of those who tested positive in the first case are below the age of 50 and are asymptomatic, Dr Krishnappa, the medical officer investigating the area, had told NDTV last week.

India, which had been reporting close to one daily lakh cases last year, has been recording under 10,000 daily cases for the last few days. The centre had last month declared that the country – the second worst-hit after the United States – has flattened the coronavirus curve.

Experts, however, have warned people against dropping their guard against the virus because of the discovery of mutant strains abroad.

Karnataka is currently the third worst-hit state after Maharashtra and Kerala.



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Another Lockdown In Bengaluru? Yes, If You Don't Follow Rules: Civic Body


Bengaluru on February 16 saw a spike in Covid cases at 70 per cent. (Representational)

Bengaluru:

Bengaluru municipal agency chief Manjunath Prasad has made it very clear if there is any laxity on the part of people in following Covid safety restrictions and if they don’t observe social distancing, then imposing a lockdown will be the only option left. He made this statement at a meeting attended by officials, civic body doctors and joint and special commissioners.

The civic agency BBMP has identified some three Covid clusters in the city in recent times – one at a nursing college and two others inside a residential complex.

State Health Minister K Sudhakar, however, has ruled out the possibility of another lockdown in Karnataka. At a press conference, he said, “I have instructed all our commissioners to engage more number of marshals to monitor Covid protocols. There is a marginal rise in positivity rate in the last few days. It’s at 1.27 per cent, which is not alarmingly high. At the moment, Karnataka doesn’t deserve a lockdown.”

The civic agency chief told NDTV on Monday that “we could be in trouble” if COVID-19 safety rules are not followed.

“With a population of 13 million in the city, we are seeing daily rise in cases by 200 to 300. In Kerala and Maharashtra, there is a spike in cases and the concern is we share borders with these two states,” Mr Prasad told NDTV.

Newsbeep

“A large population in the state are from the bordering areas. People in the city are not following Covid protocols. We have been emphasising that if people don’t follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, we are in for trouble in the next few days,” he said.

The state government has already put forward standard operating procedures for those traveling into the state from Kerala and Maharashtra to produce a mandatory negative RT-PCR certificate amid the rising Covid cases in these two states.

Bengaluru on February 16 saw a spike in Covid cases at 70 per cent. The city saw a dramatic rise in Covid cases over the last five days – the last time it was this high was in March and July last year.

But now with Kerala and Maharashtra reporting a spike – Karnataka shares border with these two states – it has become a cause of worry for officials, given that many travel to work in and out of the state along the border.



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