GENRE: In Focus

Though cybercrime is not new, in recent years the ease with which hackers are conning people has put the safety of all technology users at risk, be it a sim-card facilitated mobile phone or a high-tech computer system. As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, more than 13,000 cases of cybercrime were reported in 19 metro cities in 2022, with Bengaluru registering nearly 75% of the reported cases. “Much of the cybercrime goes unreported, as people associate shame and distrust in police to file cases,” says N S Nappinai, Supreme Court advocate and founder of Cyber Saathi.  To raise awareness…

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Bengaluru is experiencing  a surge in migration, due to rapid urbanisation and population growth, leading to the rise of  urban poor settlements or slums. These slums face daily challenges, including improper housing, inadequate access to water, sanitation, waste management, and other basic facilities. The prevalent unhygienic conditions in these settlements contribute to health issues, notably a surge in  diseases like dengue while nearby government hospitals often lack the necessary facilities.   A critical issue is improper waste management in these areas. There are disparities in opportunities for dumping, collecting, and disposing of waste. This further compounds the challenges faced by the urban poor.…

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“It is such a tragedy that on the occasion of the death anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, who spent his entire life educating people, making them aware, in getting them their rights, you have taken a step towards privatisation of education,” says Sudhakar Sonavane, former mayor of Navi Mumbai.  He is referring to Maharashtra government's "Adopt A School" scheme, which educationists and parents believe is an invitation in disguise for private players to take over government schools, where the poorest in the state study. It was launched on December 5th in the presence of chief minister Eknath Shinde and school…

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Chennai saw yet another episode of devastating floods recently, bringing back memories of the horror faced during the 2015 floods and made people relive the nightmare of that fateful event. Even the areas that were never flooded before, were inundated this year, say many Chennai residents shocked at the flood water entering their homes. These floods are indicators of poor urban planning that needs immediate course correction. In an interview with Citizen Matters Chennai, Dr S Janakarajan, President of the South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies (SaciWATERs), Hyderabad and former Professor and Director at Madras Institute of Development…

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As autumn creeps in and festival season begins, the quality of air in our cities grows murkier than usual. And then, as we move towards winter, the situation only becomes progressively worse. The air pollution menace in urban India is probably the greatest threat to health and well-being of the people as things stand. According to a 2021 study, unsafe levels of PM2.5 lead to approximately four million premature deaths annually, across the globe. Of this, 25% occur in India. And contrary to what many might deduce from the usual talk around air pollution, it is not only the large…

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A once iconic bird in Bengaluru’s lakes is now a rare sight. Spot-billed pelicans, which are fish-eating water birds, were common, especially in large lakes across the city. Huge flocks of over a hundred birds would occupy lakes like Madiwala, Hebbal and Jakkur. But today, birdwatchers celebrate even sighting a handful of these birds. The decline in the city is linked closely to mass deaths of the species in their breeding sites in the Mysuru-Mandya region. But the exact reason is a mystery. Spot-billed pelicans or Pelicanus phillippensis are one of eight species of pelicans in the world and are…

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Citizen Matters Chennai organised a Citizen Clinic on how to become a zero-waste household on November 29 with a panel of experts. The online clinic provided answers on how to segregate waste at source; how to avoid plastic and what are some eco-friendly alternatives; how to find recycling units near your home and how to get help with composting in Chennai. The panel had three experts who shared the best practices and personal experiences in moving towards minimal waste generation. The panellists included P Natarajan, founder of Namma Ooru Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation engaged in solid waste management, rainwater harvesting,…

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Four days have passed since Cyclone Michaung caused havoc across Chennai. Yet, the people of North Chennai continue to suffer in silence simply because their mobile network connectivity is still down. With no way to reach out for help, with no electricity, no basic amenities and mainly with no aid from the government, they are abandoned to their own devices. "Nobody came for our help. Not one person representing the government has reached out to us," they say collectively. In this time of despair, when the roads are inundated and the threat of health hazards looms large because of stagnant…

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Kochu Shankar, a resident of Banjara Layout in Horamavu, has not had to buy water from private tankers this year, unlike the majority of households in the layout. The rainwater harvesting (RWH) system at his home routes rainwater from the rooftop to the borewell, recharging it and ensuring a year-round water supply for the two-member family. Most residents in the layout have been buying water from private tankers over the past few months. Horamavu, part of the 110 villages added to Bengaluru city corporation limits in 2008, is not getting Kaveri water supply yet. Besides, with extensive digging of new…

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At 51 years, N C Bhatra, a migrant labourer in Chennai, finds the 20-hour train journey to his hometown in Puri, Odisha, arduous and costly. So much so that he has limited his trips home to see his wife and two children to just one or two times a year. Bhatra had migrated from Puri to Chennai in 1996. Reserving a ticket in the sleeper coach was much easier then, he says. But over the past five years, he has never been able to book tickets directly as they get sold out much faster.  “To get a ticket nowadays, I…

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