Articles by Harshitha Padmavinod

Harshitha is a reporter with Citizen Matters, Bengaluru. She is interested in covering issues on women's rights, environment, crime, and civic concerns. Her work has been previously published in The Hindu, The Logical Indian and Deccan Herald.

With the aim of bringing the government to citizens' doorstep, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and Bengaluru Development Minister, D K Shivakumar organised a 10-day Janaspandana programme in 10 constituencies, starting from January 3rd, this year. Grievances are registered on the spot and Shivakumar has promised to address the issues himself.  As per reports, nearly 4,000 complaints were registered from only two constituencies: K R Puram and Mahadevapura. The programme included access to officials from civic agencies like Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), among…

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This year marked several developments in Bengaluru's public transport, from the introduction of the Shakti Scheme ensuring free bus travel for women in Karnataka to the completion of the Purple Line and the launch of the 'Personal2Public Campaign' to encourage metro use in the IT corridor. However, even as there is optimism about improving public transport in the city, the progress of the suburban rail has been quite slow, the urban poor find using the metro unaffordable, and much more needs to be done to improve bus connectivity in the city. We look back on our coverage of public transport…

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Researchers from Azim Premji University, in a rapid Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, has observed the environmental impact of the proposed Ejipura Flyover project, which has been delayed for six years now. The study--conducted by Harini Nagendra, Seema Mundoli, Vidya Ramesh, Vivek G and Soumi Das-- highlights that more than 200 trees are under threat due to this project. The study was undertaken on the 1.4 km stretch where the flyover is proposed. In this stretch, they counted 207 trees of 24 species from 11 families. Of the 207 trees, 51 are rain trees. The report includes the assessment about the…

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Though cybercrime is not new, in recent years the ease with which hackers are conning people has put the safety of all technology users at risk, be it a sim-card facilitated mobile phone or a high-tech computer system. As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, more than 13,000 cases of cybercrime were reported in 19 metro cities in 2022, with Bengaluru registering nearly 75% of the reported cases. “Much of the cybercrime goes unreported, as people associate shame and distrust in police to file cases,” says N S Nappinai, Supreme Court advocate and founder of Cyber Saathi.  To raise awareness…

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Researchers at Paani.Earth have documented firsthand evidence exposing the inadequate wastewater treatment in five Bengaluru sewage treatment plants (STPs). This untreated water is making its way to drought-prone areas in Kolar and Chikkaballapura.  In part one of this series, we will examine the KC Valley Project, its acclaimed wastewater management methods, and evaluate its actual effectiveness in comparison to Paani.Earth's research.  The Koramangala Challaghatta (KC) Valley project was launched by the Karnataka government in 2018. It was meant to treat 440 million litres of sewage water from Bengaluru’s five STPs, everyday, to recharge ground water in the drought-prone areas of…

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Extending the idea of BBMP- CSR collaboration to developing road infrastructure was a good idea. Two projects have already been completed, the most recent one in August. The outcomes are striking, showing a stark contrast in their appearance. For instance, on the Radiall factory road, on the left side, which is a CSR-funded project, there is a shaded, wide and clean street, with even footpaths. But on the right side, which is a BBMP road, it is dusty, muddy with deep potholes and barely any pedestrian walking space. Second model road in front of the Radiall Factory, Peenya Industrial Area.…

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[In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the ongoing practice of manual scavenging in Bengaluru, even though it was officially banned in 1993. Part 2 delved into the main reason for its continuation, which is the lack of awareness about the operation and maintenance of sewage treatment plants (STPs)] In part 3, we explore the functioning of STPs in Bengaluru and how their effectiveness can be enhanced for both the betterment of the environment and to eliminate manual scavenging.  Why are STPs important?  According to Ananth S. Kodavasal, director at Ecotech, who also formulated the STP guide for…

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Even though manual scavenging was officially banned in 1993, it continues in the city. This is due to the increasing number of sewage treatment plants (STPs) and a lack of awareness about their operation and maintenance.  In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the absence of data and organisation within the rehabilitation programme for manual scavengers. In this part, we look further into the emergence of a new form of manual scavenging. In 2018, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) amended its guidelines for STPs. It made the installation of STPs mandatory in apartments above 50 units.…

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Mathew Idiculla, an independent legal and policy consultant based in Bengaluru and a visiting faculty at the School of Policy and Governance Azim Premji University, discussed the significance of public participation in urban planning and the views of urban planning experts in part 1 of this interview. In part two, he discusses the absence of an urban planning process and cites a few case studies to illustrate his point. CM: In 2015, you were a part of the BBMP restructuring committee. How was your experience being in the system? Mathew Idiculla: I accidentally became a part of the system. The…

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Mathew Idiculla is an independent legal and policy consultant based in Bengaluru. He is a visiting faculty at the School of Policy and Governance, Azim Premji University. His main area of interest is the intersection of public law, politics, and public policy and his research and practice are focused on issues concerning cities, local governance, and federalism. At Azim Premji University, he teaches courses on Urban Governance in India and Urban Development: Law and Policy. In part one of Mathew's interview with Citizen Matters, he addresses the core concerns of urban planning in the city, in terms of lack of…

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