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Covid-19 Karnataka wrap: Officials suspended, priest arrested for temple fair defying lockdown rules; gram panchayat elections postponed

The panchayat development officer was suspended by the government for allowing the gathering outside the temple for a village fair without following social distancing norms.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Bengaluru | Published: May 16, 2020 8:55:57 pm
Karnataka reported a total of 36 new cases in the last 24 hours, which takes the total number of positive cases to 1,092. (Source: Twitter/Dinesh Gundu Rao)

A day after videos of a temple fair held Thursday at Kolagondanahall in Ramanagara district on the outskirts of Bengaluru went viral on social media, Deputy Chief Minister Dr. C N Ashwath Narayan has taken officials to task.

The panchayat development officer was suspended by the government for allowing the gathering outside the temple for a village fair without following social distancing norms.

The Deputy Chief Minister has also sought a detailed report from the deputy commissioner of the district about the incident.

The district police have arrested the temple priest Chikka Bore Gowda Friday afternoon and booked under IPC sections 188 (disobeying order issued by a public servant) and 269 (negligent act leading to spread of infectious disease)

Speaking to reporters, Dr. C N Ashwath Narayan said, “I have sought a report from the district commissioner and action will be taken against all those responsible for the gathering.”

According to the government COVID-19 data, the Ramanagara district is a green zone district.

Karnataka to open industrial sector

The Karnataka government has asked the industrial sector in the state to reopen and start operations while following the norms of social distancing and use masks and hand sanitizers.

Karnataka Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar, in a press statement, said: “We have to open up our economic activities through strict measures of social distancing and other hygienic practices. In Karnataka, we have already partially opened manufacturing and economic activities as per guidelines set by the Ministry of Home Affairs and more segments will be opening up.”

Gram Panchayat elections postponed by six months

Panchayat elections in Karnataka have been postponed by six months due to COVID-19 pandemic, said Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa on Saturday. The government has decided to form administrative councils at every gram panchayat as the terms of most are ending by June-July.

Speaking to reporters, Eshwarappa said, “We have 6,012 gram panchayats in Karnataka. Except a few, the term of all gram panchayats will end by June-July. Due to the COVID-19 situation, we will not conduct elections and postpone them for six months.”

“But we have decided not to leave the administrative body vacant. Hence, we will form administrative councils at every Gram Panchayat under Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act 1993,” he added.

36 new COVID-19 positive cases in state

Karnataka reported a total of 36 new cases in the last 24 hours, which takes the total number of positive cases to 1,092.

Bengaluru reported 14 new cases: eight from Kalaburagi, three each from Hassan and Shivamogga, one each Davangere, Bagalkote, Vijayapura, Mandya, Ballari, Udupi districts.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Covid-19 spokesperson and Karnataka education minister S Suresh Kumar said, “Most positive cases are the people returning from other states and abroad.”

As of Saturday, a total of 16 people recovered, which takes the total number of recovered persons in the state to 496. According to the health department, there are 559 active cases in the state.

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