Bangalore Buzz: First anti-conversion case | Ola and Uber auto fare discussions…and more

Representative image. Autorickshaws Ola and Uber are accused of inflating fares. Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikipedia

First recorded anti-conversion case

The first case under the ‘anti conversion‘ or the Right to Protection of the Right to Religious Freedom of Karnataka Act 2022, was registered by the Yeshwanthpur Police. A girl, who is an adult, is said to have converted to Islam and married a young man she is in love with. The girl’s mother filed a complaint with the police, who arrested the youngster, even before they recorded the girl’s statement on the matter. Opponents of the arrest said the couple were married in Penukonda, Andhra Pradesh, where the law is not in force. Moreover, the girl is of legal age and was not forced to convert.

On the other hand, police sources say that anyone who wishes to change their religion is required to make a statement on Form I at least 30 days in advance to the District Magistrate or Additional District Magistrate.

Source: Hindu, Deccan Herald

Ola, Uber auto fares in talks

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday, asked the state government to speak again to taxi aggregators, ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd and Uber India Technologies Pvt Ltd, operating Ola and Uber apps, to negotiate the rate for rickshaw services.

A series of motions have been filed by aggregators, challenging the court’s opinion and the October 14 restraining order. Meanwhile, taxi aggregators had admitted they could not offer rickshaw services on their apps. Consumers were also charged above the rate set by the government. The state had argued that if services are not interrupted, the transport commissioner will take action. A penalty of Rs 5,000 per vehicle per day for operating rickshaw services was also mentioned. The Karnataka State Road Transport Authority had issued a to remark to taxi aggregators last Wednesday, for “illegally” operating auto services and charging high prices, allegedly in violation of government tariffs.

Read more: Ola, Uber may have changed rides around town, but all is not well

As a result, the Karnataka High Court allowed app-based transport technology aggregators – Ola, Uber and Rapido – to levy 10% extra charge in addition to the rates set by the state government and applicable GST, to provide rickshaw services until the government sets the rates in accordance with law.

The court adopted the interim order as a new set of talks between the aggregators and the government on the evening of October 13 had yielded no results. The court on Friday told the state government not to take ‘coercive measures against companies, until a fair pricing mechanism is in place. The base rate has been set according to government rules (Rs 30), in addition to allowing them to charge an additional 10% plus applicable taxes (GST).

The High Court also gave the government 15 days to propose the tariff mechanism. The hearing in the case has been adjourned to November 7. Uber said in a press release, “We welcome today’s court order, which recognizes that car drivers have the right to operate using aggregation platforms.”

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

Commuters worry about more expensive bus journeys

Due to post-COVID job losses and pay cuts, BMTC (Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation) bus journeys have become more expensive, according to a Greenpeace survey, titled “Bustling through Bengaluru”. It was a report based on a survey of 558 bus users, including 243 women, highlighting some shortcomings in the public transport system.

About 6,400 buses serve only 1.4 crore people in the state. Around 88% of users said they preferred buses to other modes of transport, including the metro, but were worried about the rising cost of travel. Nearly 79% of respondents said the government should make city buses free for women and students. However, more than a third said bus fares should be abolished, according to the report.

Source: Deccan Herald

Read more: Traveling by bus for free is not an option for BMTC, targeted subsidies for the poor are

429 trees will be felled by BMRCL

BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited) started cut down trees on ORR (Outer Ring Road), between Kempapura and Hebbal for Phase 2 of the Airport Metro line, following the High Court’s admission of a petition from the Metro authorities. The BMRCL has requested the removal of 429 trees, in addition to the cutting of 1,332 trees between Kasturinagar and Kempapura, for which permission was granted last year. According to the proposal, following the report of the committee of experts on trees, 382 of the 429 trees will be felled and 29 will be moved.

A stretch of trees in Bangalore
Representative image. BMRCL is cutting 429 trees on ORR. Photo courtesy: APU report

Meanwhile, the BMRCL had been criticized for not making public the status of young trees planted as part of compensatory afforestation, as well as the status of trees transferred for metro projects.

Source: Deccan Herald

A new metro line put to the test

On Thursday, there was a preliminary inspection before the start of a trial run on October 25, on the Whitefield to Baiyappanahalli Line stretch. A battery-operated tram traveled about 12 kilometers from about 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. between Whitefield and Garudachar Palya stations, carrying out track and third rail system checks. The entire 15.25 kilometer line is expected to see commercial operations by late February or early March 2023.

Meanwhile, new metro coaches will be moved tonight from Baiyappanahalli to the Whitefield depot. Six trailers will be unloaded at the Whitefield depot, coupled and prepared to form a complete rake.

Source: The New Indian Express

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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