Vendors cry foul after CCC at BIEC closed prematurely

Controversy continues to dog the now defunct COVID-19 Care Centre (CCC) at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC), which when it opened on August 15, was touted as the largest centre with state-of-the-art facilities. However a month later, it was shut down.

Vendors who provided housekeeping, security personnel, waste management and other infrastructure services said they signed an agreement with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for a period of three months. They also claimed to have incurred huge losses.

“We are exploring the possibility of taking legal recourse. We have also sought an appointment with Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa to apprise him of our issues,” said a vendor.

The vendor said initially they were assured that the CCC would be operational for a minimum of six months, but later, an agreement was signed for three months. “We have submitted bills and are awaiting payment. We have urged the BBMP to consider paying rent for items agreed upon for a minimum of three months,” the vendor said, and added that a letter had been sent to the BBMP Commissioner, who heads the COVID-19 task force.

BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad claimed he had not received any letter from the vendors.

Rajender Kumar Kataria, who heads the task force managing CCC, told The Hindu that with decreasing footfalls to the various facilities, it had been decided to close down the one at BIEC.

Many BBMP officials, however, hold a contrary view. They maintained that other CCCs could have been closed and the facility at BIEC retained. But Mr. Kataria claimed those who had tested positive for COVID-19 were not willing to travel to BIEC and preferred to stay in facilities close to their place of residence.

Incidentally, it was Mr. Kataria who had pointed out that hiring the cots and beds would translate to ₹24,000 a month, which would be a drain of public funds. Following this, the Chief Minister directed officials to procure the material from vendors and a price was fixed.

Senior officials said the CCC had been stripped bare. Most of the mattresses and cots had been shifted to government-run hostels. While 2,500 have been sent to facilities managed by the Social Welfare Department, 1,000 each have been sent to hostels of the Department of Minority Welfare, Horticulture University in Bagalkot and Agriculture University in Bengaluru.

Another CCC closed

The CCC set up in Sri Sri Ravishankar Ayurveda Hospital has been closed. The other CCCs that have been closed include hostels at Bangalore University, Agriculture University, GKVK and BIEC.

According to Rajender Kumar Kataria, who heads the task force managing CCC, there were over 1,400 beds in the six remaining facilities at Haj Bhavan, Ayurveda College, Homoeopathy College, Unani College, Koramangala Indoor Stadium and HAL’s convention centre. Of these, 905 beds were occupied (as on 4 p.m., September 21).

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 9:01:04 AM |

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