Articles by Supriya Khandekar

The author is a freelance Journalist based out of Mumbai.

"The city is getting beautiful," says the A K Gopalswamy, Engineer-in-Chief of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP). Amidst all the criticism, he believes that the on-going road widening drive, the newer malls under construction, new roads, Metro rail, and so on are part of this ‘beautification'.Granite slabs dug up on Seshadripuam Main Road (pic: Supriya Khandekar)The recently dug-up Seshadripuram Main Road in northwest Bengaluru is evidence of this. The granite footpath on this road has been removed by the BBMP as part of work to install a new concrete pavement. This road, like most of the lanes and roads…

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We all often read in newspapers about various raids that the Lokayukta of Karnataka does on various officers and catches them red-handed taking bribes. And most of us wonder how do they get to know of this. If one of us comes across an officer who readily accepts bribes, how do we tell the Lokayukata about that? Where do we complain? Will the Lokayukta consider the small complaints that do not involve a one crore-rupees scam?Well, the answer is yes. And filing a complaint is not as daunting as it may seem, considering our collective experience of access to government…

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Are you familiar with offers like ‘Shop for Rs.999 and get a gift voucher worth Rs.99'? Most of us constantly look for such announcements in supermarkets, malls and showrooms. But are they for real, i.e, do consumers really get what the vendor promisesThe moment we come to know of discounts and offers through the media, we rush to avail of them. S N Subramanya, a consumer and RTI activist, also jumped at one such offer, to his regret. The Big Bazaar (Food Bazaar) grocery outlet in Sigma Mall on Cunnigham Road regularly has special offers on Wednesdays. On 19th November…

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On 1st December, B N Vijay Kumar, MLA(BJP), Jayanagar constituency (which includes Jayanagar and JP Nagar), distributed pamphlets to all residents of his constituency asking them to inform him if they find vacant sites which is not protected by either the BBMP or BDA. Vijay Kumar says that he often gets complaints from his constituents about unused government land being misused or getting encroached upon. To verify the complaints, he went around his constituency and found that there were a lot of unprotected land sites owned by government or city corporation, which were not fenced or marked, near BBMP parks,…

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Many of us often fight with the road-side shops for charging an extra Rs.2 for cold drinks or water. Some of us succumb to the demand after a futile argument. Still others pay without any question. But have you paid almost double for buying the same brand of bottled water from the same shop at the same time? S N Subramanya (79) was asked to pay. He happens to be an RTI and consumer activist and so pursued the matter further.On 8th January 2008, S N Subramanya went to Commercial Street to shop. There, he purchased two bottles of Kinley…

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Property taxes are due city-wide, but clear information about how the tax is to be calculated has still not reached citizens, and this has created much disturbance and worry.To address the confusion, the Citizens' Action Forum (CAF) on 29th November passed a resolution demanding that the state government should bring back the Annual Rateable Value (ARV) based property tax system. CAF claims that the revised system which the BBMP has introduced recently was a violation of all the promises politicians had made before the elections.The meeting saw a participation of around hundered people from various residents associations who voiced their…

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When we talk of garbage not being disposed off well, we do not think about garbage other than the regular kitchen waste and plastic. One major type of waste that we hardly talk about is radioactive waste, produced at cancer hospitals. While our kitchen waste may not be so harmful, radioactive waste can be hazardous. On a casual inquiry, I found out that the cancer hospitals in Bengaluru were apparently disposing residual radioactive waste into the public sewerage and garbage. This sounds alarming, but this is what they are supposed when the radioactive material (used for treatment) is 'fully used'.…

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Bengaluru made international headlines with the successful Chandrayaan operation, the first unmanned mission to moon by India. And the institution responsible for Chandrayaan's initiation and monitoring is none other Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). In the same league as ISRO are the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Jawaharlal Nehru Pl anetarium (JNP) and so on. Indeed, among the many feathers in the city's cap are some ofthese renowned science institutions. But how many of us, especially students and scientifically-inclined citizens are aware of the opportunities for the local public at these major institutions? Not many,…

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Power cuts are again the talk of the town since Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) declared a minimum two hour cut in all the residential areas in the city. “Is it really only two hours?” is what my colleague Gayathri S asks me. She gets a power cut of six to eight hours every day since the declaration of power cut was done by BESCOM. My colleague lives in Venkatapura, Koramangala. She complains of untimely power cut of more than six hours a day disturbing routines. When we checked, we found that she is not the only one suffering from…

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In a Lok Adalat hearing on 19th November 2008, at the High Court of Karnataka, Justice K L Manjunath pointedly asked Yellapa Reddy, chairman of the committee overseeing Bengaluru’s road widening project to listen to the petitioners' complaints on widespread tree cutting. The Adalat took exception to Reddy’s standpoint which appeared to one of merely representing local government officials’ views instead of striking a balance between citizens and officials. As reported earlier in Citizen Matters, a writ petition was filed by NGOs Environment Support Group and CIVIC a few months ago against the tree cutting undertaken by the Bruhat Bangalore…

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