COVID-19: BBMP sets up ward-level crisis cells

Coronavirus: After Karnataka High Court rap, BBMP sets up ward-level crisis cells

High Court of Karnataka

Days after it was castigated by the High Court of Karnataka, the BBMP has set up ward-level disaster management cells to provide relief to citizens stuck in crises.

While hearing a petition seeking relief for migrant workers last week, the court had asked the state government if it had set up the disaster management cells in line with the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (ward committee) rules, 2016, noting that it would help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BBMP began setting up the cells from the next day. The joint commissioners of some zones wrote to the ward-level officers, saying that the cells must conduct meetings and upload the minutes on the BBMP website.

For latest updates and live news on coronavirus, click here

Headed by the ward councilor, the cells will comprise of all the members of the ward committee. The cells would work during disaster times.

“Officials in the development works department, and health and forest officials, besides the link workers, will be part of the cells. The secretaries of all the ward committees will take the issues to the respective chairman immediately and hold a meeting of the disaster management cell," the notification, issued by the joint commissioner of the Dasarahalli zone, said.

A member of a ward committee in the zone said a meeting has been called on Thursday to discuss the lockdown and the Covid-19 outbreak.

“If they had set up the cells earlier, the citizens part of the ward committees would have participated,” said the member. “It is unfortunate that we have to wait for the high court orders to follow the rules." 

'Distribute food in plastic boxes'

While many, including politicians, are distributing food and other essentials in banned polythene covers, the government on Tuesday issued directions not to use them.

The Department of Information and Public Relations directed all NGOs to stop using polythene covers with immediate effect. “Keeping in mind the health of labourers and the poor, organisations have been directed to distribute grocery items and food in plastic boxes rather than plastic covers,” the order said.