Articles by Shobana Radhakrishnan

Shobana Radhakrishnan is a Senior Reporter at Citizen Matters. Before moving to Chennai in 2022, she reported for the national daily, The New Indian Express (TNIE), from Madurai. During her stint at TNIE, she did detailed ground reports on the plight of migrant workers and the sorry-state of public libraries in addition to covering the renowned Jallikattu, Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections (2021) and Rural Local Body Polls (2019-2020). Shobana has a Masters degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the Pondicherry Central University and a Bachelors in English Literature. She keenly follows the impact of development on vulnerable groups.

In view of Women's Day, observed on March 8, Citizen Matters conducted an online survey on women's safety in Chennai. As many as 171 women took part in this survey between the age group of 18 to 51 years. These women were from areas like Sholinganallur, Adyar, T Nagar, Kotturpuram, Thiruvanmiyur, Royapuram, Perambur, Madipakkam, Anna Nagar and other parts of Chennai. Though we circulated the survey across Chennai, many of the responses were from women in the Southern parts of Chennai, indicating the lack of access for women from areas of North Chennai to take part in such online surveys.…

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At 16, when Jency* got married to a man her family chose for her, she dreamt of a blissful life. Her husband, a carpenter, toiled to make ends meet, while she was a homemaker. Life was tough but they were content. "During weekends, he would take us to the beach and once in a while we went to the movies. Eating Delhi appalam and walking along the seashore at Marina Beach with my husband and my two kids is one of my favourite happy memories," she says. That was Jency's life in the past. The sole breadwinner of her family,…

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The Kilambakkam bus terminus has been marred by controversies ever since it opened to the public. Why was the terminus opened in such a hurry? Why did the CMDA award the contract for Operation and Maintenance to a single concessionaire? What is going to come up at the location of Koyambedu bus stand? Chennai residents are looking for answers to all these questions. To get a clear picture about the operations of the new terminus and put all controversies to rest, we spoke with CMDA Member Secretary, Anshul Mishra. Here is what the CMDA has to say about the issues.…

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With the operation of southbound buses shifted from Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT) in Koyambedu to Kalaignar Centenary Bus Terminus (KCBT) in Kilambakkam, there is not much clarity about the bus services among commuters. Kavin, who lives in Arumbakkam, was one among those affected by the confusion over transition of the bus stand from Koyambedu to Kilambakkam. He booked a ticket to Dindigul in an Omni bus in January-end and chose the pick-up point as Vadapalani. The bus should have picked him up at the designated stop at 9 pm. At 8 pm, he got a call from the travel…

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In the first week of December 2023, residents of Chennai and surrounding areas experienced flood fury, which brought the city to a grinding halt. When the 2015 Chennai floods happened, the authorities said it was a one-in-100-years disaster and would not occur for a long period. Yet, in eight years, here we are facing the consequences of a disaster. Now the citizens are asking — who is to blame for the Chennai floods? Major rivers, lakes and canals in the city come under the purview of the Water Resources Department. "But the department, which should be restoring waterbodies and channels…

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From a homemaker, who had little knowledge of the workings of the outside world to being triumphant in the Chennai urban local body polls — and managing her ward — B Sumathi, Councillor of Ward 77, has charted an eventful journey. "My husband was quite active in the party and also involved in social work. Since, this was a ward reserved for women from scheduled castes, I was given a seat to contest. To my surprise, I won by a margin of 6,847 votes," says Sumathi. Speaking about her tenure so far, she says, "Though I was scared initially, I…

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When Cyclone Michaung-induced floods hit the resettlement colonies of Perumbakkam, the houses on the ground floor were quickly inundated. On a priority basis, persons with disabilities were allocated houses on the ground floor. However, with the floods, their vulnerability pushed them further to the fringes. They were forced to climb stairs seeking refuge in other people's homes that already had leaky roofs and damp walls. This was not the first time people in resettlement colonies in Perumbakkam or Semmencherry were facing floods. Almost every year, November and December are months of struggle for the families, who are evicted and resettled…

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For more than a month now, Ennore has been in the news continuously. First, we had the floods, then the oil spill and now the gas leak. Hundreds of villagers in Ennore have been protesting for two weeks against the industrial pollution that has been taking a heavy toll on their livelihood and health for nearly five decades. Located in the northern part of Chennai, the Ennore Industrial Cluster has two thermal power stations, ash ponds, two ports, fertiliser manufacturing industries, pharmaceutical companies, oil storage terminals, coal storage yards and cement manufacturers. Once a quiet and verdant locale, the Kosasthalaiyar…

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'Slow motion Bhopal' — this was the title of the public hearing held recently to hear grievances of Ennore residents after the ammonia gas leak incident. As the title rightly points out, the episode was reminiscent of the horrors that people endured in the Bhopal gas tragedy. In the wee hours of December 27, residents in several areas around Ennore rushed out of their homes gasping for breath. Many complained of irritation in their eyes and throat, while some had blood oozing out of their nose. Few others, especially the elderly, fainted on the streets. All this happened after ammonia…

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In a recent incident, a cab driver who went to drop off passengers at the Chennai International Airport started coughing abnormally. He suddenly vomited blood and collapsed on the driveway. The security guards, who were on duty during that time immediately alerted the medical team at the airport, which did a quick examination and stabilised the patient. He was later sent to the Government General Hospital in Chrompet in the ambulance stationed at the Chennai Airport. "We not only attend to the emergency medical cases of the passengers inside the terminals but also attend to all such cases in the…

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