Articles by Sravasti Datta

Sravasti Datta is an Consulting Editor at Citizen Matters.

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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The power of consistent campaigning and pursuing a movement to its logical conclusion can be seen in Dattatraya T Devare's and his team's efforts. Since 2007, Devare, trustee of Bangalore Environment Trust (BET), has been working to preserve trees in the city, as part of which he filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking amendments to the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act, 1976. This eventually translated into path-breaking legal amendments to preserve Bengaluru's trees. "When I moved from Pune to Bangalore in 1986, I remember the city was very green," says Devare, "But it began losing its trees due to development…

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As we look forward to observing World Disability Day on December 3rd, it is pertinent to question whether Bengaluru is satisfactorily accessible, in terms of public spaces, buildings, mobility, public transport, for persons with disabilities or if there is a lot left to be desired. “The most difficult thing is accessibility to resources and information for people living with disabilities,” says Parinitha P, a resident of Bengaluru and a Person with Disability (PwD). Disabled-friendly infrastructure - only on paper The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPWDA) notified the Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier Free Built Environment for…

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Citizen Matters has published in-depth articles and analyses on understanding the multiple causes of Bengaluru's flooding this year. So it was only pertinent to engage with citizens to understand the issues they faced in their homes and apartment complexes during the floods, and give them a platform to raise their queries. Challenges of rain-related problems, such as seepage, weakening foundations, damp basements, soil damage, not to mention potholed roads and footpaths, will predictably become more frequent as rainfall intensifies due to climate change. The first edition of Bengaluru Citizen Clinic, a format in which experts address specific questions from citizens…

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In 2017, the Gambhir Committee's National Urban Livelihood Mission Shelter Inspection Report submitted to the Supreme Court observed that homeless shelters in the country were in a dismal condition. (The committee was comprised of three members and headed by Justice (retd) Kailash Gambhir.) Many states did not comply with the guidelines of the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM).  Five years later, the homeless are even worse off due to the pandemic, loss of livelihoods and unusual weather events triggered by climate change. The NULM is now aiming to provide, in a phased manner, permanent shelters to the urban homeless under…

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There is certainly no lack of ambition among the intellectuals inhabiting the corridors of the union government’s premier developmental think tank Niti Aayog. Having set a goal of becoming a $5-trillion economy by 2026 and $40-trillion economy by 2047, Niti Aayog, in collaboration with Asian Development Bank, has come up with a voluminous report on how the country can harness the economic potential of its Tier 2 and 3 cities by developing them as “engines of growth”. This article summarises some of the report’s key findings and recommendations. To begin with, the study states that India’s urban population is estimated…

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Heat waves are not unusual at this time of the year in north and central India. Delhi faces heat wave conditions during April-June every year. What is unusual this year is that the first round of heat wave conditions hit Delhi and neighbouring states in end March and early April. And is likely to hit a peak in May. Climate experts have been increasingly warning of unusual weather events, including extreme heat, across the globe. And the dire projections all seem to be coming true. “In the Himalayas too, temperatures rose by a few degrees,” said Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director…

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Loss of income. More debt. The adverse impact on employment and livelihoods because of the first few lockdowns continue to haunt low-income neighbourhoods in Bengaluru even as the city struggles to return to a kind of new normal. This was revealed in a Bengaluru COVID impact survey (BCIS) by Azim Premji University, in collaboration with nine Civil Society Organizations (CSO). The survey covered 3,000 vulnerable households in 92 low-income settlements across 39 wards in the city, in October-November, 2021. The survey’s findings included employment and income losses, debt, food security and reach of government support measures on a cross-section of…

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Faced with mounting criticism of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for inflating revenue receipts, the Karnataka Government earlier this month brought the BBMP under the Karnataka Local Fund Authorities Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2003. The government also issued a draft notification of the BBMP Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Rules, 2021, inviting suggestions from citizens within 30 days before issuing the final gazette notification. The objective is to ensure basic that BBMP’s expenditure doesn’t exceed income. As per the notification, BBMP must prepare its budget on the basis of actual revenues collected in the last fiscal year. The draft notification…

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