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Karnataka Covid-19 wrap: State Election Commission issues guidelines for local body elections

The Karnataka State Election Commission has directed candidates to give priority to the use of electronic media "as far as possible" for campaigning purposes ahead of the elections.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: September 16, 2020 8:09:44 am
Manipur bypolls, Manipur elections, Manipur bypolls november, Lilong, Wangjing Tentha, manipur news, election commission, indian expressIn the first phase of polling on December 8, local bodies in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki districts will go to vote.

From making use of gloves to handle Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)/ballot boxes mandatory to directing district administrations to identify multiple mustering centres in taluk headquarters, the Karnataka State Election Commission (KSEC) Tuesday issued standard operating procedures (SOP) to conduct by-elections and elections for local bodies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wearing face mask is mandatory for everyone taking part in any election-related activity, the general guidelines mentioned, adding that each person will be made to undergo thermal scanning and to use soap/sanitiser at the entry of rooms, halls, or premises used for the elections.

Submitting, withdrawing nominations

The Election Commission has recommended the use of e-training methods to train Returning Officers (RO) and their assistants. In the event of submitting nominations, returning officers will be asked to give tokens to candidates on a first-come-basis and the candidate or his/her proposer alone will be allowed to enter the RO’s office.

However, if tested Covid-19 positive, the candidate should submit nominations through a proposer. The same process will be in place while withdrawing nominations as well.

During election campaigns

The Karnataka State Election Commission has directed candidates to give priority to the use of electronic media “as far as possible” for campaigning purposes ahead of the elections. However, candidates (who are Covid-19 negative) only will be allowed to undertake house-to-house campaigning with a maximum of five supporters, all wearing facemasks and maintaining social distance.

At the polling station

KSEC has directed that polling personnel should be provided with sanitised rooms for accommodation before the polls in a room adjoining the polling station itself. To avoid voters crowding to exercise franchise, officers will be asked to make arrangements only for a maximum of 1,000 voters per station in place of the usual 1400. “The polling station and the adjoining room will be sanitised by spraying 1% sodium hypochlorite,” the KSEC guidelines mentioned.

Further, it has been directed that health officials should be appointed at each polling station to ensure Covid-19-related protocol is followed. Those found to have coronavirus symptoms will be immediately sent to the nearest health centre for further examinations.

On voting day, indelible ink should be applied without physical contact, the guidelines read. “If the voter is wearing hand gloves, polling officers should ask them to remove it to allow the application of the ink to the proper finger,” the SOP stated.

As per the detailed guidelines, in the event of the ballot paper not inserted properly into the ballot box, the Presiding Officer will do so using a sanitised bamboo stick.

According to Ranjitha M P, Under Secretary, KSEC, the guidelines were drawn after a detailed discussion held with technical experts from the state’s Department of Health and Family Welfare Services.

Karnataka govt gives nod to doctors’ demands for higher pay

The Karnataka government Tuesday decided to concede the demand of salary hike put forth by government doctors in the state. Requesting agitating doctors to withdraw the strike, Medical Education Minister Sudhakar K, Health Minister B Sriramulu and Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwathnarayan met representatives of the Karnataka Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMOA) informing them of the government’s decision.

After the meeting in Bengaluru, Sudhakar said, “The doctors have been working hard day in and out, and in this light, the Chief Minister has given a nod to all the proposals by the Health Department in the past six months. The demand will be addressed and the Finance department has been briefed in this regard.”

Further, he informed that the revision in salaries will be made based on six-year, 13-year, and 20-year promotions for the doctors and details on the same will be obtained from the medical officers. “Even though this is a burden for the government to bear, it will be addressed on priority,” Sudhakar added.

Bengaluru: HAL donates ambulances to city hospitals

Aerospace and defence major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) donated two more ambulances to hospitals in Bengaluru on Tuesday, one each to the Institute of Nephro Urology (INU) situated at the Victoria Hospital campus and Sir C V Raman General Hospital (SCVRGH). “Considering the on-going pandemic, we are doing whatever we can to strengthen the health infrastructure,” R Madhavan, CMD, HAL said.

Earlier, HAL had donated two ambulances to Bowring & Lady Curzon Medical College & Research Institute (BLCMC&RI), also under the PSU’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

According to Alok Verma, Director (Human Resources), the ambulances are equipped with facilities like air conditioning, basic life support system, analogue oxygen delivery system, autoloader stretcher trolley with floor mounting mechanism, separate doctor’s seat, etc. These ambulances are particularly useful for patients who require medical monitoring while in transit and need non-invasive airway management.

Earlier, HAL had donated two ambulances to Bowring & Lady Curzon Medical College & Research Institute (BLCMC&RI), also under the PSU’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

Covid-19 results within 60 minutes: Dy CM inaugurates testing centre with TrueNat machine

Deputy CM Ashwathnarayan Tuesday launched a Covid-19 testing centre at the Public Health Centre (PHC) at Magadi Road (West Zone), equipped with a TrueNat machine which enables faster derivation of results.

According to health officials at the PHC, samples of the throat and the nasal swab collected by the trained technicians is used for testing and results can be obtained within 30 to 60 minutes.

Launching the initiative, the Deputy CM said, “PHCs are a critical component of our battle against Covid-19. This facility will enhance our capacity to perform testing and deliver quicker results thereby enabling faster isolation and containment.”

The initiative, supported by Azim Premji Foundation, is expected to benefit vulnerable communities in BBMP West zone largely living in slums and informal settlements including daily wage labourers, construction workers, street vendors, garment workers, sanitation workers (pourakarmikas) and domestic workers.

Urban Development Minister Basavaraja tests Covid-19 positive

Karnataka Urban Development Minister Byrathi Basavaraja tested positive for coronavirus on Monday and has been admitted to a private hospital in the city.

“I have tested positive for Covid-19 today but I don’t have any health problems. I have got admitted to Columbia Asia Hospital for treatment as per medical advice,” said the 56-year-old legislator who represents Bengaluru’s Krishnarajapuram (KR Puram) constituency.  ,

Basavaraja had met Lingayat seer Vachanananda Swamy at the Harihara Panchamsali Mutt in Davanagere on September 12 along with Deputy Chief Ministers Ashwathnarayan C N, Govind M Karjol, and Davanagere Lok Sabha MP G M Siddeshwar.

Meanwhile, Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha MP Anantkumar Hegde also tested positive for coronavirus. The former Union Minister had undergone a Covid-19 test when he arrived in Delhi to attend the parliamentary session.

Bengaluru: 3,084 fresh cases, 15,806 active containment zones

As the number of fresh Covid-19 cases and fatalities linked to the pandemic surge in Bengaluru, the capital city alone reported 3,084 new cases while the same was 7,576 across Karnataka on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the number of active containment zones in the city comprising 198 wards rose to 15,806.

The health department also attributed 41 more deaths that took place over the last few days to Bengaluru’s death toll on September 15. With this, 2,514 deaths have been reported cumulatively from the city.

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