Bengaluru sees the least number of registrations of persons with disabilities
- Tumakuru has the highest with 28,430 voters with disabilities seeking special facilities
- Bengaluru has reported the least number of registrations by persons with disabilities (PwD) while Tumakuru has registered the highest in the State in terms of voters for the Lok Sabha elections.
- In all, 4.03 lakh persons with disabilities in the State have registered with the Election Commission so far, seeking special facilities for voting.
- The data released by the Election Commission, which has introduced facilities for persons with disabilities to make the elections inclusive and accessible, show that the Bengaluru Rural, Bengaluru North, Bengaluru South, and Bengaluru Central Lok Sabha constituencies have together seen about 11,000 persons with disabilities register, while Tumakuru alone has seen a registration of 28,430.
- Belagavi has seen a registration of 24,650 followed by Ballari with 17,641.
- While the 2018 Assembly elections had seen 26 polling stations fully managed by persons with disabilities, the number will be increased for the Lok Sabha elections process.
- Some, including Mysuru, Vijayapura, Mandya and Kodagu, had polling stations manned by persons with disabilities for the Assembly elections. For the general elections, they intend to expand it to all 33 election districts in the State
- Meanwhile, Paralympian H.N. Girish, who is a brand ambassador for the Election Commission, also thanked the Commission for extending facilities to persons with disabilities and urged all citizens to participate in the voting.
West Nile virus: Health Department issues alert in border districts
- The Health Department of Karnataka stepped up surveillance of acute encephalitis syndrome in the State. It has also issued an alert in the border districts of Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu, and Dakshina Kannada.
- West Nile virus is spread by culex mosquitoes and the infection is confirmed only if the second sample tests positive. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, body ache, nausea, vomiting, and occasionally skin rash on the trunk of the body, and swollen lymph glands.
- Severe infection can lead to West Nile encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues) with symptoms of headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis, leading the patient into coma. These symptoms are similar to AES. Incubation period of West Nile fever is three to 14 days.
- According to the World Health Organisation, West Nile virus infection is transmitted to human beings through bites from infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Birds are the natural hosts of the virus, and vaccine is not available for the infection.
- Health officials claimed the Kerala boy’s death could be the first confirmed death in the country owing to the relatively unknown viral infection that leads to neurological diseases.
- While the Union Health Ministry is yet to issue guidelines to States on the latest viral infection, the State Health Department has issued a circular directing all district health officials to step up mosquito prevention and control measures.
- They have asked the district health and family welfare officials to screen patients with symptoms of acute encephalitis syndrome for WNV. We are yet to get guidelines from the Centre on this. However, we have sounded an alert in the four districts of Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu, and Dakshina Kannada as they are bordering Kerala
- All suspected AES cases with travel history from Kerala will be followed up on a daily basis for two incubation periods, and the district officials had been directed to intensify appropriate vector surveillance and control measures.
West Nile virus (WNV)
- It is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes West Nile fever. It is a member of the family Flaviviridae, specifically from the genus Flavivirus, which also contains the Zika virus, dengue virus, and yellow fever virus.
- West Nile virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, mostly species of the genus Culex, but ticks have also been found to carry the virus, although it is exceptional and they are not likely to play a major role in the transmission of WNV. The primary hosts of WNV are birds, so that the virus remains within a “bird-mosquito-bird” transmission cycle
- Once WNV has successfully entered the bloodstream of a host animal, the envelope protein, E, binds to attachment factors called glycosaminoglycans on the host cell. These attachment factors aid entry into the cell, however, binding to primary receptors is also necessary. Primary receptors include DC-SIGN, DC-SIGN-R, and the integrin αvβ3. By binding to these primary receptors, WNV enters the cell through clathrin-mediated endocytosis. As a result of endocytosis, WNV enters the cell within an endosome.
- The acidity of the endosome catalyzes the fusion of the endosomal and viral membranes, allowing the genome to be released into the cytoplasm.Translation of the positive-sense single-stranded RNA occurs at the endoplasmic reticulum; the RNA is translated into a polyprotein which is then cleaved by viral proteases NS2B-N23 to produce mature proteins.
- In order to replicate its DNA, NS5, a RNA polymerase, forms a replication complex with other nonstructural proteins to produce an intermediary negative-sense single-stranded RNA; the negative-sense strand serves as a template for synthesis of the final positive-sense RNA. Once the positive-sense RNA has been synthesized, the capsid protein, C, encloses the RNA strands into immature virions.The rest of the virus is assembled along the endoplasmic reticulum and through the Golgi apparatus, and results in non-infectious immature virions.
- The E protein is then glycosylated and prM is cleaved by furin, a host cell protease, into the M protein, thereby producing an infectious mature virion.The mature viruses are then secreted out of the cell.
Epidemiology and History
- West Nile Virus has been reported in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and North America.
- In the United States thousands of cases are reported a year, with most occurring in August and September. It can occur in outbreaks of disease. Severe disease may also occur in horses and a vaccine for these animals is available. A surveillance system in birds is useful for early detection of a potential human outbreak
- The virus was discovered in Uganda in 1937 and was first detected in North America in 1999
Karnataka High Court relief to renewable energy generators
- The Karnataka High Court has quashed the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission’s May 2018 order of withdrawing exemption from payment of certain open access charges and tariff holidays offered to them for a period of 10 years during the Global Investors’ Meet (GIM) to attract investments in the renewable energy sector.
- A cooling period or tariff holiday cannot be withdrawn and trap the investors after securing the investments.
- A new solar/wind/mini hydel project unit which spends huge amounts for establishing its infrastructure in view of the promise/assurance made by the commission and after certain period to withdraw the said exemption sub categorising the projects would be incongruous and hit by Article 14 of the Constitution and the principles of promissory estoppel
- Justice S. Sujatha delivered the verdict on March 13 allowing the petitions filed by Renew Power Ltd., New Delhi, and several other solar, wind, and mini-hydel power generating companies questioning the May 14, 2018 order of the KERC, which had withdrawn exemptions and tariff holidays offered to plants commissioned from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2018.
- Declining to accept the State government’s contentions that brochures of the GIM were not a State policy and promise or assurance made at such meets would not be binding on the State, the court pointed out that the investments for renewable energy projects came only due to the exemptions and tariff holidays offered for a period of 10 years, and such benefits cannot be withdrawn against the interest of the petitioner companies.
- The court also held that the KERC had no power to determine tariff from time to time sans any request made by the either of the parties to the power purchase agreements.
- In a few months, Electric vehicle (EV) users in the city may no longer have to hunt for charging stations. The 112 EV charging stations that have been proposed to provide the infrastructure needed to encourage the use of EVs will be readied by August-end.
- Officials said tenders had been finalised and work orders issued to establish the EV charging stations.
- Smart-grid and EV, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), which is the State nodal agency for the project, said locations had been chosen in core city areas as well as outer areas to ensure that charging stations are spread out and covered maximum area.
- The 112 stations will primarily come up on government premises as it would be difficult to establish them in public places. Among the locations chosen are Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike ward offices, TTMC buildings, BMTC offices, Karnataka Housing Board offices, KIADB office, Bescom and BMRCL offices. They will be spread across the city, including outer areas such as Kengeri, K.R. Puram, Yelahanka and Electronics City
- The charging stations will be mapped on Google Maps to enable motorists to locate them.
- At present, the city has around 7,000 EVs while the existing charging stations are run by operators of EV fleets for captive consumption
- There is no public charging station, as there is no assurance that EV users will visit the facility. That is why they decided to take the lead. Now, people will get the confidence to own EVs
Tariff to be fixed soon
- The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) had, last year, fixed Rs. 4.85 per unit as tariff for charging EVs. Now, a cost to serve will be fixed, which is what consumers will have to pay at the stations.
- The tariff fixed is what the company operating the station will pay to Bescom. They are arriving at a cost to serve, beyond which they cannot charge consumers. This will have to be approved by the government, which may be done after the elections
Highways in next phase
- The EV Charging Infrastructure Workgroup Committee, comprising representation of the civic agencies concerned, including Bescom, BBMP, BMRCL, BMTC, KSRTC, Karnataka Housing Board and Karnataka Udyog Mitra, has also proposed EV charging stations to be established on highways.
- As per guidelines of the Ministry of Renewable Energy, charging stations should be available at every 25 km on both sides of highways, apart from fast charging stations every 100 km.
- According to sources, the workgroup is working on the basis of the MNRE guidelines and the Karnataka Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage Policy 2017, apart from adopting a few proposals from the Draft Delhi EV Policy 2018.
- In the second phase, locations on the inter-city highways will be identified to establish charging stations.
- They have tentatively identified locations up to Mysuru from Bengaluru and up to Attibele on the Bengaluru-Chennai highway