Articles by Sumana Narayanan

Sumana Narayanan leads the work on road safety at Citizen consumer & civic Action Group (CAG), a thirty-four-year-old non profit and non political organisation that works towards protecting citizens’ rights in consumer and environmental issues and promoting good governance processes including transparency, accountability and participatory decision-making.

In the last couple of years, Rapido has become a well-known name in Indian cities. The ride-hailing platform, focussed solely on two-wheelers, has been gaining popularity in cities struggling to deal with congestion. Now the other major ride-hailing platforms - Ola and Uber - are also offering bike taxi services. Rapido has also become a household name as it were because of the recent spate of backlash against it and attempts to get it banned. Several states have banned the platform, cases have been filed in court and the tug-of-war between the company and state governments (Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and…

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that public transit in Chennai is fragmented, poor in service quality, and dying a slow death in the last two decades. Certainly, the patronage numbers of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) and other modes of public transport would support this with modal share dropping over the last few decades, concomitant with an increase in the modal share of private vehicles.  The experiential knowledge of service quality is that service frequency, in particular of the MTC buses is poor and unpredictable; buses and trains are often crowded, and signage and information on fares and routes…

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Tree leaves, bamboo, lotus leaves, palm leaves, rice straw, gourds, hemp twine, coconut shells and shells of shellfish are some of the natural materials that were used for packaging in the olden days. It was common at the turn of the century, for all items purchased, whether cooked or prepared, to be wrapped using indigenous materials, so as to preserve their freshness, prevent pollution, protect them from damage and store leftovers. Our parents and grandparents frequented small local kirana stores with steel dabbas to get flour and spices. Fast-forward to the present scenario, finding stores where you're able to purchase…

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Translated by Sandhya Raju கடந்த இரண்டு வருடங்களாக கோவிட்-19 தொற்று காரணமாக, அனைத்தும் முடங்கிப்போயின, ஆனால் இந்த புத்தாண்டில் குறைகளை களைந்து, நாம் அனைவரும் விரைவாக செயல்பட வேண்டும். 2022 ஆம் ஆண்டுக்கான விருப்பப் பட்டியல் இதோ: நகரத்தின் தண்ணீர் மற்றும் நீர் நிலைகளின் மேலாண்மை சில வருடங்கள் முன்பு, மழை நீர் சேமிப்பு கட்டாயமாக்கப்பட்டு, நன்றாகவும் அமல்படுத்தப்பட்டது. இதன் நல்விளைவை நாம் அனைவருமே அனுபவித்தோம். ஆனால், காலப்போக்கில் இது மாறி, தண்ணீர் தட்டுப்பாடு மீண்டும் தலைதூக்கியது. நீர் தட்டுப்பாட்டை தவிர்க்க மழை நீர் சேமிப்பு திட்டத்தை மீண்டும் பரவலாக அமல்படுத்த வேண்டும். பல காலங்களாக நீர் நிலைக்கான திட்டங்கள் வரையப்பட்டாலும், ஆறுகள், குளங்கள் மற்றும் ஏரிகள் ஆகியவற்றில் கழிவுகளும் பிளாஸ்டிக் குப்பைகளும் நிறைந்துள்ளன. இது போக, ஆக்கிரமிப்புகளாலும் சூழப்பட்டுள்ளன. இதனால் மக்களின் சுகாதாரம் பாதிக்கப்படுவதோடு, கடும் வெள்ளத்திற்கும் வழி வகுக்கிறது. ஆக்கிரமிப்புகளை அகற்றி, நமது இயற்கை வளங்களை பாதுகாத்து,…

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While it feels like everything in the past two years has been overshadowed by the spectre of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a city we need to look at our shortcomings and resolve to pull up our socks in the new year. So here’s CAG’s wishlist for Chennai for 2022. Managing the city’s water and water bodies Many moons ago, Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) was made mandatory and for a while it was implemented well. Chennai reaped the rewards of this effort. Since then though, we have let it slide and are again facing grave water shortage. Widespread and proper implementation of…

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We’ve likely seen coloured garbage bins in malls, airports and so on. The bin colour indicates, of course, what kind of trash we should put where, based on whether it's food waste or recyclable waste. Many a time, I have stood in front of these bins and wondered where to put the coffee cup and the little styrofoam container. Are they the same material? Are they both recyclable? Manufacturers must step up! For years the burden of dealing with plastic disposal has been with the consumer. We are told to reduce, reuse, and recycle while the manufacturers who sell us…

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Recently, Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) conducted an online dialogue on Chennai’s Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) bus service. The dialogue was part of a national campaign (Lakh ko 50) by the Sustainable Urban Mobility Network (SUM Net India), which asks the government to ensure that there are at least 50 buses per lakh population in our cities. The idea was to hear from commuters to understand what is needed to improve the bus service. Transportation experts also spoke on how the MTC’s fleet strength is inadequate for the number of passengers it serves, and pointed out that there…

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