Bangalore Buzz: Outrage over voter data theft | Controversy over “saffron” schools…and more

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Minister of Higher Education, CN Aswath Narayan at Bengaluru Tech Summit – 2022. Photo Credit: Facebook / Bengaluru Tech Summit.

Opposition slams BJP government for stealing election data

The BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) filed a complaint with Halasaru Gate Police Station to investigate allegations of election data theft by the Chilume Educational Cultural and Rural Development Trust, a private agency. The State Elections Commission asked the District Elections Officer (DEO) to conduct an investigation and submit a detailed report.

Senior Congressional Leaders, November 17, slammed the “40% Sarkara Commission”, the BJP-led government, for allowing Chilume to carry out a door-to-door investigation and steal voters’ personal data. The agency had claimed to educate the public about filing claims online through the Voter Helpline’s mobile app. Congress leaders demanded a judicial investigation into the matter and the resignation of CM Bommai, explaining that the private entity had agreed to take on the task “for free” initially granted to the Mahadevapura Assembly and then extended it to the 28 Assembly constituencies on August 20. .

The Data theft was made possible by a government ordinance, allowing the private agency that called itself an NGO to “raise awareness” about voters’ rights and the revision of voter lists. But the agency is linked to an election management company through one of its directors.

A three-month joint investigation by six reporters from The News Minute and Kannada media outlet, Pratidvani, led to the discovery. Chilume field workers asked voters to share personal information such as their caste, mother tongue, marital status, age, gender, employment and education, as well as their Aadhaar number, phone number , their address, voter identification number and email address. Voters were also asked to answer subjective questions about the performance of their elected officials. Data has enormous commercial value for private companies and politicians.

Source: The Indian Express, The Hindu, The News Minute

Inauguration of the Bengaluru Tech Summit

The Silver Jubilee Edition BTS 22 (Bengaluru Tech Summit) was virtually inaugurated on November 16 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said the city is number one on the innovation index and the hotbed of technology. In his video message, he added that technology is being used as a weapon in the war against poverty. The inauguration ceremony took place in the presence of several world leadersincluding French President Emmanuel Macron and participants from more than 15 countries, including Japan, Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, the United States, the Lithuania and Canada.

BTS attracted more than 575 exhibitors, with at least nine signed MOUs and more than 20 product launches, while startups from 16 states participated. More than 350 internationally renowned experts addressed issues related to technological developments on the Tech4NextGen theme. About 5,000 entrepreneurs are expected at the summit.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Research and innovation development policy was released at the inauguration, with the objective of financing infrastructures and institutions. It should help undergraduates, postgraduates, doctoral students and early-career researchers to undertake high-quality research and acquire skills. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai also announced that the government would start working on a starter park close to the international airport to help promote different spheres of the startup ecosystem. The city has become the sixth center to house a science and technology cluster with the launch of the Bengaluru Science and Technology (BeST) cluster.

Source: Times of India, Deccan Herald, Indian Express, The Hindu


Read more: Opinion: “Use technology, repurpose Volvos to boost bus services in Bangalore”


New police commissioners

On November 15, MA Saleem was appointed as the new Chief of Bengaluru Traffic Police amid several transfers in the police department. He is an officer of the rank of Deputy Director General of Police in charge of traffic management. The 1993 IPS officer will replace Joint Commissioner Ravikanthe Gowda, an officer of the rank of Deputy Inspector General of Police.

Deputy Commissioner (Crime) SD Sharanappa will serve as Joint Crime Commissioner, replacing Raman Gupta, who has been assigned to the Intelligence Wing.

Source: The Indian Express

Government offices are behind on payment

Executive engineers from two divisions of Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) – Hebbal and Jalahalli – sent notice to numerous government offices, including Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Horticulture Department, Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and village panchayats, for non-payment of electricity bills amounting to crores.

In the four subdivisions of Hebbal (Ganganagar, Kaval Byrasandra, Yelahanka and Sahakaranagar subdivisions), Rs 131.8 crore is due, with BWSSB having the highest dues of Rs 65.09 crore, while BBMP n did not pay Rs 54.53 crore. In Jalahalli (Jalahalli, Vidyaranyapura, Soladevanahalli sub-divisions), at the end of October, Rs 99.2 crore was due.

Source: The Hindu

Controversy over the “saffronization” of classrooms

The opposition condemned the saffronization of 7,601 classrooms built under the Viveka Diet. When there are not enough classrooms, books, lunches or teachers, the government should focus on these issues rather than painting classrooms saffron, opponents cried. The plan has been described as an attempt to overthrow the education system, built on the principles of scientific research, which will now use public money to promote BJP ideology.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai during the launch of the Viveka program
Viveka program launched by CM. Photo courtesy: Twitter/KrishnaBajpai@SecretaryKKRDB

counter charge, CM Bommai asked what was wrong with the color. Saffron is part of the (national) tricolor and Swami Vivekananda wore a saffron robe, he said.

Source: The Indian Express, The Times of India

Car drivers: ban the services of carpooling applications

21 members autorickshaw Drivers’ unions, including representatives from Ola, Uber and Rapido, and Department of Transportation and Road Safety officials shared differences on fares, among other things, on November 15. However, there was no resolution. Car drivers’ unions have alleged the government has failed to act against taxi aggregators who have been “illegally” operating car services without a license since 2016 and “stealing public money”. The request was to ban car services from ride-sharing apps. Unions also said ride-sharing apps were only allowed to run taxi aggregator services and were not allowed to set prices.

Meanwhile, representatives of Ola and Uber have submitted their proposals, asking the High Court to allow dynamic pricing by authorizing a platform fee of Rs 25 and a commission of 25%. Ola requested that the basic rate be doubled from Rs 30 to Rs 60.

commuters, on Nov. 16, said the Department of Transportation should launch an app-based taxi aggregation service to stop the exorbitant prices charged by private aggregators. The department could submit the records of both meetings to the High Court on Wednesday.

Source: Indian Express, Deccan Herald


Read more: Shortage of traffic cops in Bengaluru: Can technology and models fill the gap?


Hoteliers want discounts on commercial LPG

Hoteliers oppose plan by state-owned oil companies to cancel discounts on commercial LPG cylinders. Hindustan Petroleum (HP), Bharat Petroleum (BP) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) have withdrawn discounts/offers on non-domestic LPG from November 8, as it was reported that non-domestic LPG was cheaper than domestic LPG.

PC Rao, a resident of the BBHA (Bruhat Bangalore Hotels’ Association), said the cancellation of the discount is a “big blow” to the hospitality industry, which depends on commercial LPG. He also asked to reduce the GST on commercial LPG from 18% to 5%, to bring it to the same level as domestic LPG.

Source: Deccan Herald

Residents demand better road works

The BBMP made “poor quality” road works in the New Thippasandra market and is currently laying roads without even carrying out basic works, such as cleaning the ground for dust, grass and other materials and quality checks, before paving, said inhabitants. They added that the roads will become death traps.

Meanwhile, reports and videos of blocked traffic on Varthur-Balagere main road, where school children were stranded for more than two hours, mobilized the Palikes to agree to widen the road to 18 meters from the existing 12 meters. BBMP officials said the widening of the road is a “comprehensive development project”, worth Rs 18 crore. About 60% of the work is complete, but it may take six months to complete.

Almost 39 routes, covering 114.46 km – including 19 km of outer ring road between Central Silk Board and Lowry Junction at KR Puram – will be covered in white at Rs 1,449 crore. Even as the first and second phases of the project are nearing completion, a new proposal for the third phase is seeking government funding.

So far, the BBMP has covered almost 125 kilometers in white. According to the new design of the BBMP, there will be two underground conduits, much larger in size, under the sidewalks for cables and power lines. For six-lane roads, only two lanes on both sides will be covered in white, while asphalt or cobblestones will be laid on the other portions. For four-lane roads, the white pavement would only be one and a half lanes. BBMP Chief Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath explained that the design is being modified to expedite the project.

Source: The New Indian Express, Deccan Herald

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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