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Amid coronavirus fight, Karnataka to auction BDA sites for funds

Karnataka Monday started a WhatsApp chatbot that offers information about the COVID-19 situation in the state. People can start using the service by sending Hi message to +918750971717, said the health department.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Bangalore | Updated: April 13, 2020 10:27:56 pm
coronavirus, coronavirus lockdown, coronavirus latest news, coronavirus karnataka news, coronavirus cases bangalore, indian express CM Yediyurappa at the Monday meeting with various departments, along with his cabinet colleagues and the Chief Secretary.

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, along with his cabinet colleagues and the Chief Secretary, Monday held a meeting with various departments to discuss the financial trouble the state is facing amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

Speaking to reporters after the meetings, Yediyurappa said, “The coronavirus pandemic had thrown the state into rough waters financially. We discussed the financial situation of the state government and how to mobilise resources. We have received many suggestions to overcome the financial crisis.”

When asked about the relaxation on sale of liquor through Mysore Sales International Ltd (MSIL) outlets, he said, the decision on this will be taken after April 14.

Meanwhile, 15 new coronavirus cases were reported as of 5pm Monday in the state. This brings the total reported cases to 247, including 6 deaths and 60 discharges. Bengaluru has the highest number, with 71 confirmed positive cases, while Mysuru has 48 positive cases.

Karnataka to auction BDA sites to raise funds

To tackle the financial crisis amid COVID-19 pandemic, the Karnataka government has decided to auction Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) sites.

On Monday, in the meeting held by CM Yediyurappa, it was decided to auction the sites, which are expected to fetch about Rs 15,000 crore. “More than 12,000 corner sites in Bengaluru are lying idle. By auction of corner sites, we plan to mobilise about Rs 14,000-15,000 crore. BDA is preparing for it. We will sell only if we get good market value,” Yediyurappa said.

“We have also decided to allow the auction of the corner and vacant sites in respective urban development authorities across the state,” he added.

The government has decided to use Rs 1,000 crore available in Rajiv Gandhi Health University to upgrade medical college hospitals.

Minister’s ‘swimming pool’ photo draws flak

Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar landed in a controversy after he shared a picture of him and his kids in their swimming pool on Sunday.

On Monday, Sudhakar was criticised by the Opposition Congress for posting a photo with his children in the pool amid the coronavirus lockdown.

On Sunday, Sudhakar, who is part of the state’s coronavirus response team, tweeted, “After a long time joined my children for swimming hope maintaining social distancing here also..haha.” Following the criticism, the post was deleted by the minister.

Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar condemned the photo and demanded that Sudhakar resign from his post. “When the whole world is going through a health crisis, the Corona in-charge Minister Dr. Sudhakar is behaving irresponsibly by spending time in a swimming pool. It’s a matter of moral & ethical standards. He must resign out of his own accord & CM should sack him from the cabinet,” tweeted DK Shivakumar.

Sudhakar was one of the rebel MLAs who quit the Congress last year and caused the collapse of the coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy, before joining the BJP and becoming a first-time minister.

WhatsApp chatbots to provide information about COVID-19

The Karnataka health department Monday started a WhatsApp chatbot that offers information about the COVID-19 situation in the state, along with the latest updates and fact-checks on the pandemic.

The state government partnered with WhatsApp to establish a dedicated coronavirus helpline for citizens. People can start using the service by sending Hi message to +918750971717, said the statement by the health department.

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