Civic

This election season, some RWAs (Residents Welfare Associations), NGOs and citizen groups have taken the initiative in their respective areas to invite candidates and interact with them. They are presenting a Citizens' Charter that sets out of how citizens want candidate to communicate, consult with the public & complete promised programs, after they get elected. Here is a roundup from the various localities. Rajajinagar 1st Block [27 Apr]By Dr. Meenakshi Bharath A meeting was organized by the RWA of First N and R block in Rajaji Nagar. Candidates present included R.V Hareesh (BJP) and K. Gopalaiah (JDS) Candidates interacting with…

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The whole of Bangalore is talking about how bad the traffic is and how to unlock it. But no one is really concerned about the very neglected pedestrian. Ruthless vehicle owners do not stop to allow even old people cross. There is an unwritten rule which says, "me first". Crossing roads has become a great challenge today where no one cares. If this continues and we choose to do nothing about it, our ‘Swalpa adjust madkoli' attitude may cost us. The already dangerous conditions on our road may become worse for all pedestrians. We at Gandhigiri decided to launch a…

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Guru Ravindranath, one of the prominent RTI users in the city filed an RTI application on 31 January 2007. For not receiving the information, he filed an appeal on 14/3/07. The first hearing was set to 25/5/07. It was then postponed to 28/8/07. Then again it was postponed to 22/11/07. And again it was postponed to 12/2/08. And then again to 14/4/08! The state's Chief Information Commissioner at this time is K K Mishra. The RTI (Right To Information) Act is a special-purpose vehicle that is supposed to feed the citizens with information on demand. But Karnataka's bureaucrats are exploiting…

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The Election Commission and local government officials have been in the news recently on yet another effort (not unlike the past) to clean up the electoral rolls in the state. The upcoming assembly elections in May are a virtual deadline for this process. Civil society groups in Bangalore have pitched in to lend the EC a helping hand. Their goal is to make sure genuine voters are able to cast their votes, and fake voters weeded out. How have these efforts fared? Though the task at hand is herculean, a beginning has been made. For long, voters in Bangalore have…

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Bangalore, as we know it now, could be an armchair critic's delight. Congested, cluttered, overgrown, brown Bangalore has old-timers sighing in despair or ranting in rage. The younger Bangaloreans give each other earfuls about the city's roads, traffic and lack of civic amenities. While more people pour in, the minimal infrastructure is stretched beyond help. The blame games continue. The mess festers. N S Mukunda of Citizens Action Forum with former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N Venkatachala. File pic: Sneha. Meet a group of people who have moved beyond complaining. The Citizen Action Forum (CAF) consists of a group of individuals…

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Unhygienic drinking water. Moon-cratered roads. Uncollected, stinking garbage pile-ups. Power thefts. Statue-like BBMP officers. Land grabs. Unauthorised structures. Residential plots converted to commercial properties. Bribe-hankering government staff. This list can go on and on. Bangalore is down in the dumps and its leaders and administrators seem to have abandoned their virtues and lost their will along with their sense of right. Looking at the current state of affairs, there appears to be no hope in sight unless the average citizen picks up the gauntlet. If the power of the Right to Information law is anything to go by, it is…

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What’s TDR to you?

Bangalore's administration and the Karnataka state government are trying to deal with the city's massive traffic woes in one way or another. The most common approach undertaken by governments is to implement schemes to widen roads, build flyovers, and develop mass transit/rapid transit systems. Recently, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) decided to implement its proposal of widening 85 roads in the city. Bangalore's roads are currently handling 32 lakh vehicles, nearly two and a half times the number in 1990s. It was in 2005 that the city's Roads Department announced the road widening scheme for 85 roads. However, the…

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Corrupt government officials who have actively abetted illegal constructions in the city should be taken to task before any action can be taken against owners of such properties. This was the common refrain among citizens of the city who met under the aegis of the Citizens' Action Forum (CAF) on 24 January 2008 to discuss, debate and arrive at a consensus on issues arising out of the amendment to the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act. The amendment is known as the Sakrama scheme. The group discussing Setback and FAR violations at the CAF Forum on Sakrama. Pic: Samuel Jacob.…

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Flay by the rules

We pay taxes and duties on just about everything - on our income, on purchase of capital assets such as property and cars, on services, and on our expenses. Part of the tax collection goes to the central government, and part to the state and local governments. A substantial portion of these funds is earmarked for spending on area development. This much we know. In Bangalore, the reality is that city corporators work hand-in-glove with corporation officials (BBMP) and contractors to ensure that a good portion of the funds earmarked for development are milked back into their own pockets. Guru…

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Fire broke out in Uphaar Cinema in New Delhi on 13 June 1997, while screening a matinee show of the movie, Border. 59 movie goers lost their lives because the theatre didn't have adequate fire escape facilities. Ten years later, memories of that day still haunt the survivors. Chief Fire Officer and Senior Supervising Officer, Bangalore, N U Erappa says cinemas are supposed to provide four and a half metres of space around the building so that in case of fire, fire trucks would be able to enter the premises and put it out. In many theatres, this area is…

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