Bengaluru: With plans to relax COVID restrictions at places with less positivity rate, the Karnataka government is likely to review the containment measures announced by it effective across the state, next week, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy said on Thursday.
At the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai today, some Ministers expressed reservation about enforcing restrictions across the state, especially in places where the positivity rate is low.
”We have issued the COVID protocol to be followed till January 19. In today’s cabinet meeting some Ministers questioned the need for it to be implemented across the state, especially in places where there are less infection and low positivity rate,” Madhuswamy said.
Hence it was decided to review things by January 14 or 15 and consult the technical advisory committee on the matter, he told reporters after the cabinet meeting.
”We are planning to relax restrictions as much as possible where it is not necessary,” he added.
The Karnataka government on Tuesday had decided to impose curfew on weekends and restrict public gatherings to fight the third wave of COVID-19, till January 19. It has also decided to continue the night curfew for two more weeks, and has prohibited all rallies, dharnas, protests, among others.
Pointing out that cases have doubled and the Omicron variant is spreading rapidly, Madhuswamy said the government’s intention is to curb its spread at initial stage and not to cause inconvenience to anyone.
”Life is important, somehow we want to control it at the initial stage. The cases are more in Bengaluru and last time when we imposed restrictions only in Bengaluru, people moved from here to rural and other areas and cases started increasing there. Hence we have imposed restrictions everywhere this time taking precautions,” he said.
Responding to a question, he further said that the rate of hospitalisation or requirement of ICU beds or ventilators will be less this time compared to the last two waves. ”We want to bring down the rate of infection, also there have been clusters, so we want to take preventive measures from the beginning.” The cabinet meeting has given administrative approval for developing the famed Jog falls as a tourist destination on par with global standards in a public private partnership and Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Transfer (DBFOT) model, by having five star hotel and a ropeway across Sharavathi river at a cost of Rs 116 crore, the Minister said.
”We have specified 12 things that include internet facility for every room, at least two coffee bars, among others.” Stating that the Chief Minister had approved the ”Amrit Nagarottana scheme” for infrastructure development under Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (city corporation) limits, Madhuswamy said the cabinet today decided to spend Rs 6,000 crore under this scheme for Bengaluru development in three years time. ”Every year Rs 2,000 crore will be spent.” Also it has been decided to develop the high density Hebbal junction in the city which connects the city to the airport.
The plan also involves interventions aimed at K R Puram and Tumakuru Road which sees high vehicular density, the Minister said. Various civic agencies of the city have been directed to come up with a master plan and the cost of all these projects is yet to be estimated, which will be sanctioned in the next budget The cabinet has also cleared Rs 406.44 crore for selection of service providers for supply, installation, operation and management of IT equipment, and deployment of necessary human resources at all sub-registrar offices, under the BOO (build, own, operate) model.
It has also approved procurement of 300 non-AC electric buses by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), and has released Rs 100 crore for this.
Other cabinet decisions include- grant of Rs 12 crore for construction of memorial dedicated to late Kannada actor-turned politician M H Ambareesh at the Kanteerava Studio here, administrative approval for a project to fill 22 lakes in Bengaluru East taluk and Dodda kere in Hosakote taluk at an estimated cost of Rs 93.50 crore through K R Puram sewage treatment plant and direct recruitment to fill 80 of 177 vacancies of AYUSH nurses.