Articles by Sravasti Datta

Sravasti Datta is an Consulting Editor at Citizen Matters.

India has witnessed intense heat waves this year with temperatures soaring above record levels, particularly in urban areas, sometimes even breaching the 50°C mark. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has observed that the country is experiencing the effects of climate change as extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall, heat waves and intense tropical cyclones are occurring more frequently. One contributing factor for these extreme weather patterns is the rapid warming of the Indian Ocean. A study Future projections for the tropical Indian Ocean, published by Elsevier and led by Roxy Mathew Koll, scientist with Climate Research Lab, Indian Institute…

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Sneha (name changed) decided to buy a flat in a gated community in Bengaluru this year. She was worried about the availability and sufficiency of water supply. She ticked off her checklist by asking one question to the builder: “How many borewells are there?” But could she have done more to assess water security in her new home? “Beyond that one question on borewells, no one could ask anything more,” she says, adding: “It is hypothetical, whether these borewells would supply the required water. Everyone felt that the use of tankers was inevitable. And that eventually the government would solve…

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Almost half of Bengaluru's citizens did not vote in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. The city recorded a 57.43% voter turnout this year, not much of an improvement from the previous 2019 elections. The low voter turnout has often been ascribed to apathy, but this alone is not a satisfactory explanation. Several factors have been cited for the low voter turnout, from discrepancies in electoral rolls to the scorching heat. Voter roll errors: Deletions, duplications and deceased names There were complaints that hundreds of voter names were either deleted or missing in Chickpet and Akkipet in Bangalore Central.  In a…

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Bengaluru goes to polls on April 26th. As candidates ramp up their campaigning efforts, discussions centre on issues like infrastructure and mobility. Even as political parties have released their manifestos, residents and civic groups from a cross-section of society too have expressed their demands from their MPs. Civic group manifestos include environmental, mobility, employment and healthcare issues. Here is a compilation of a few citizen manifestos from Bengaluru: Bangalore Apartments' Federation (BAF) BAF is a Federation of Apartment Owners’ Associations (AOA) and Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWA) in Bengaluru. Their demands include:  Commitment to lobby for immediate and high priority conduct…

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The Lok Sabha elections 2024 are scheduled to be held in seven phases between April 19th and June 1st. For the first time, senior citizens aged above 85 and persons with 40% and above disabilities will be able to vote from home. The voters in these two categories must file Form 12 D with the Election Commission. Those who opt for vote-from-home will not be allowed to vote from the polling booth on voting day.  Eligibility for postal ballots Rule 27A of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 has been amended to provide the optional postal ballot facility to ‘Absentee…

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This year could well be seen as a sort of a showcase for democracy, as over 60 nations around the world gear up for elections, parliamentary, presidential or regional. India, followed keenly around the world for its rising geopolitical stature, is just one of them. In a matter of weeks from now, we will be queuing up to elect our chosen member of parliament, or the MP from our constituency.  But how do we make that decision? When we vote for a candidate, what should we expect him to do for his constituency? Build better roads? Create more jobs in…

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Despite the previous government’s claims of developing 47 lakes in Bengaluru at the cost of Rs 317.25 crore, under the Nava Nagarothana scheme, with an additional Rs 200 crore being sanctioned to restore 17 lakes, the process of lake maintenance is shrouded in issues. Chief among these is the lack of transparency and access to information, poor enforcement of laws, and above all, absence of public consultation.  Environmentalists and citizen groups have worked against these odds to protect lakes, but questions remain on why public consultation is not duly followed and why lakes continue to be encroached upon and overflow…

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Find out how Pulakeshinagar Assembly Constituency is faring and what the major issues in this constituency are. Learn about MLA R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, who recently resigned from the Karnataka Legislative Assembly due to being denied a party ticket, and other candidates - AC Srinivasa (INC), BR Bhaskar Prasad (SDPI) and Suresh Rathod (AAP). Table of contentsAbout the constituencyKey issues in the constituencyKey parameters - How does this constituency fare? SchoolingMobilityCitizen engagementHealthConstituency mapCitizen demands Incumbent MLA: R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, former INC MLAWork in the termIn the newsList of candidatesFormer MLA: R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, BSPCandidate: A C Srinivasa, INCCandidate: BR…

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Environment Support Group (ESG) is a pioneering non-profit environmental organisation, based in Bengaluru. ESG has worked to protect biodiversity and ecosystems, often in collaboration with communities facing the effects of environmental degradation and displacement. They have been actively involved in judicial advocacy that led to landmark judgements and policies in the city. For instance, PILs filed by the organisation on Mavallipura's landfill led to waste segregation rules in Karnataka. The organisation has been vocal in speaking for public commons and environmental justice and has fought several legal battles to prevent destruction of natural resources in the city. ESG was awarded…

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It was a year of in-depth articles that not only informed readers with detailed reportage and explainers, but also offered solutions to issues of concern to citizens. For example the Bengaluru floods of 2022, arguably one of the worst the city has experienced. While a series of articles explained the various causes of the floods, there were also articles that sought to explore solutions. Based on reader's concerns, Citizen Matters also conducted an event, 'Flood-proofing homes and neighbourhoods', a first-of-its-kind citizen clinic format. In this format, a panel of experts offered insights on how homes and neighbourhoods can be protected…

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