Articles by Meera K

Meera K is the co-founder of Citizen Matters, the award-winning civic media platform. She also helped initiate Open City, an urban data platform (opencity.in). Meera is an Ashoka Fellow, recognised for her work building open knowledge platforms that allow citizens to collaborate and improve their cities. She is Founder-trustee at Oorvani Foundation.

The infamous Outer Ring Road (ORR)-Sarjapura Road traffic chaos is something every Bengalurean knows of. Some of us living in the neighbourhood live through this every day. All thanks to the poor quality of both the road network and public transport services. Neither planners nor politicians have paid enough attention to this area to make it livable! Sarjapura Road is an integral connection to the IT corridor of south-east Bengaluru. Given that the Outer Ring Road (ORR) is almost fully developed, with a focus on tech parks, new residential projects are happening on or around Sarjapura Road, especially the sub-arterial…

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By now you may have cast your vote and got back home. Did you find it easy to make a choice? I did not. The other day, my friend Sanjay Vijayaraghavan, a long-time voter in Bengaluru, looked at the list of candidates in his constituency and groaned, "None of them look inspiring." He was not alone. There were groups discussing the pros and cons of NOTA due to the lack of appealing choices. Frustration with the quality of MLA candidates The quality and rhetoric of campaigns over the last few elections have not improved. Rather than presenting long term and…

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An analysis of BBMP's work order data over the last five years shows 74% of funds were meant for roads and drain works. From "Remodelling of stormwater drains, culverts-bridges and allied works" to "White Topping on selected roads" - the packages range from a few lakhs to many a crore. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bengaluru’s city government, administers an area with a population of around 12 million and has a budget of around Rs 11,000 crore as of 2023-24. In spite of its massive expenditure on civic works, BBMP is often in the news for all the wrong reasons,…

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Find out how Mahadevapura Assembly Constituency is faring and what the major issues in this constituency are. Learn about the incumbent MLA Arvind Limbavali  (BJP) and candidates, including S Manjula (BJP), H Nagesh (INC), and CR Nataraj (AAP). Table of contentsAbout the constituencyKey issues in the constituencyKey parameters - How does this constituency fare? SchoolingMobilityCitizen engagementHealthConstituency mapCitizen DemandsIncumbent MLA: Arvind LimbavaliWork in the termIn the newsQuestions Raised in the AssemblyList of candidates Candidate: Manjula S, BJPCandidate: H Nagesh, INCCandidate: CR Nataraj (AAP)Candidate: Shivaji R Lamani, Karnataka Rashtra SamithiFull list of candidates  Past elections results About the constituency Mahadevapura is of considerable significance,…

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On 30th August, a resident of Rainbow Drive, a layout on Sarjapur Road, passed away as he could not get to a hospital in time. His community had been flooded and its residents marooned for hours during which even tractors could not reach them. On 5th September after the heavy overnight rains of up to 90 mm, residents of this area and the larger Sarjapur Road-Outer Ring Road area continue to suffer, with large sections of even main roads inundated. Rainbow Drive is one of the parts of the city that has had far too many trysts with flooding. Even…

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Namma Metro construction on Outer Ring Road (ORR) is just starting. If the speed of execution on other lines is anything to go by, the next few years could very well be hell for residents living off ORR. But it need not be torturous. It is possible for the BMRCL (Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd) to follow certain steps to ensure daily life is not inconvenienced while construction goes on. Unfortunately, we have no regulations or guidelines on how to execute civic projects without putting citizens through risk and pain. Here, though, are some pointers for BMRCL to consider and…

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BMTC has launched three new bus routes along the IT corridor, to service Sarjapur Road neighbourhoods. In a mini function today, MLA NA Haris, MLC Rizwan Arshad and Bellandur corporator Asha Suresh flagged off the new service. Two of the routes run in a loop to Electronic City - one in clockwise and the other in anti-clockwise direction - covering neighbourhoods like Kasavanahalli, Doddakannalli, Haralur and HSR Layout. The third route runs in a loop to Carmelaram Railway Station, covering Doddakannalli, Kadubisanahalli, Bellandur Gate and Kaikondrahalli. Residents along Sarjapur Road have been demanding BMTC services to these areas. The Kasavanahalli…

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The Why of Citizen Activism

In an earlier post, I wrote about the rise of the citizen entrepreneurs. Thought I’ll share why these active citizens do what they do. I am including myself in this club because I still volunteer occasionally. Many of our team members are engaged in their own local issues (but we ensure that is independent of our work at Citizen Matters!).  Satisfaction First of course, is the immediate sense of empowerment — that we get when we start doing something. Whether or not there are results to show. Sometimes there is a feeling of being better than the rest, because hey,…

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Data from BBMP shows that Bengaluru’s 198 wards have together contributed Rs 5430 crores as property tax over the last three years. 2016-17: Rs 1743 crores 2017-18: Rs 1761 crores 2018-19: Rs 1926 crores The tax collection by ward varies from one extreme - 282 crores in three years collected by Bellandur, to another - 69 lakhs collected in Chalavadipalya. Bellandur which occupies 3.6% of the area covered by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has collected Rs 103 crores out of Rs 1926 crores, that is more than 5% of the total collection. The top 34 wards have contributed almost…

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This article is supported by SVP Cities of India Fellowship Even as green cover in Bengaluru has been steadily declining over the last few decades, some efforts to reverse this phenomena are gathering momentum. The Government of Karnataka drafted The Karnataka Tree Cover Enhancement Policy, 2016 that targeted increasing forest and tree cover from the current 21% to 33%; in cities planting was to be done in residential and other layouts, institutional lands, private lands, etc. This policy is yet to be formalised, though the Forest Department has offered to take direct charge of afforestation and tree conservation programmes instead…

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