Health minister Sudhakar gives it a miss
A Karnataka Rajyotsava function was held at the SJB Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, despite a government advisory to postpone all social and cultural events in educational institutions for two months. The ban was imposed in view of the Covid-19 situation in the state.
Education and Health Minister K Sudhakar was invited to the event, but he did not come.
The college was decked up. Teachers and management crowded the main entrance to welcome the chief guests. Sounds from drums and trumpets rent the air. Students and teachers alike wore traditional attires.
Dr Ajai Chandran C.K., Principal of the college, said: “This is a formal function. All precautions are being taken. We thought of postponing the event as per the government regulations, but it has been 21 years of our existence. We will soon announce ourselves as an autonomous institution.”
Tejas Babu, the institute-level cultural coordinator, revealed: “There are 4,500 students and 400 faculty memberspresent here. We are following all government norms and social distancing guidelines. Vaccination certificates are being checked at the entrance.”
The Observer, however, noted that social distancing guidelines were being flouted. Nobody had a mask on. There was no facility to check vaccination certificates.
Film actors Nikhil Kumaraswamy and Ramachandra Raju of KGF movie fame were present at the event.
Raju said he was happy to be a part of the event and meet the students. Everyone should follow Covid-19 guidelines as precaution is better than cure, he added.
Spoorthy AB, an engineering student,said: “I am very excited about the event. Everybody will be performing. However, it’s not possible to maintain social distancing at an event.”
Sanket Bhatt, an ISC student, said: “Rules are followed, but today is a function. We are not being told to wear masks today.”
Health experts caution such large-scale events should not be held during the pandemic.
Dr Dakshinmurthy from the Chinmaya Mission Hospital, a government hospital, said: “I am against such mass cultural events during these difficult times. Bengaluru should be under the watchdog considering the rising cases in the city. Social distancing rules should be followed.”
Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai on November 27 hinted at tightening curbs to control the rise of Covid as cases have become a cause of worry with new clusters emerging. There is also a threat posed by the new Covid variant Omicron, which emerged in South Africa.