Page 1

Vol. 12 Issue 2

News Digest

Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore

04 Septemer, 2012

Angry locals lay siege to garbage dump Exclusive

Vintu Augustine

Red tape at government offices stops families from collecting BPL cards. Page 2

Street kids turn to drugs in desperation, says report. Page 3

Locals broke down the boundary wall of a garbage dump and set it on fire after a decade of illegal dumping. Villagers took the law into their own hands after repeated protests fell on deaf ears. The five acre dumping site near Subbannaiaah Palya village, Kumbalgodu was affecting the health of children, according to villagers. On July 31, a group of parents organized themselves and set large heaps of garbage on fire after destroying the boundary wall with a hired JCB digger. The whole area was filled with acrid black smoke for three to four days. The smoke subsided only after rains hit the district. The area had been a dumping site of the BBMP for the last decade and was well protected by a boundary wall of cement bricks.

Plastic fumes choke Cubbon Park; authorities keep mum Page 3

“For the last ten years, they have been dumping the waste from the west division of the city here. We had been bearing with the stink all these years,” said Muniappa,

The garbage continued to burn for four days creating havoc in the village. a villager. under the pretension that it would The fury of the people generated be recycled,” added Venkatesh, by desperation over the constant Many people, mostly children of another resident. stink and health-related problems the village were affected by finally gave way to the fire that enbreathing and respiratory probThe value of land was also afgulfed the whole area with suffolems. fected as no one wanted to buy cating smoke. land near a garbage dump. “Our People said that it was suffocating land does not value anywhere near The reaction of the people in the to pass through the road near the the market price,” said one of the form of violence directed at the garbage site. But they could not villagers. dumpyard has finally brought avoid it either as it led them to the garbage-dumping near Subbannamain road. Villagers said that they had freiaah Palya to a stop. A BBMP quently complained to the author“So many trucks of waste used to official declined to comment when ities, but never received a positive bring waste and dump it here asked about the issue. response.

Cases of domestic violence spike: many cases unsolved

City lakes remains dry, as departments feud over upkeep. Page 3

Amritha Ray

under the influence of alcohol.

Domestic violence cases in Bangalore have increased by over 240 percent since 2010.Only 766 out 2174 cases have been through the courts, we can reveal.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Anand Sharma said,” It is a myth that these cases are dominant in the lower and underprivileged classes, shockingly, a lot of the

Over 308 cases were reported in 2010 which rose to 1054 in 2011 an enormous leap with respect to the growth in the domestic violence cases from 2010 to 2011.

2 5 o C I 0F Partly cloudy Wind: SW at 10 km/h Humidity : 65%

According to C. Manjula, chairperson of the the Karnataka Women’s State Commission, on an average, nine out of ten domestic abuse cases go unreported, yet the number is very high. Rani Shetty, a counselor at Vanitha Sahavani, a women’s helpline said, “Saturdays are the worst days as husbands end up beating their wives under the influence of alcohol. Consequently, the numbers of victims admitted in hospitals increase by over 30 percent during the weekends.” Recently, Kannada actor Arjun was thrown behind bars for harassing his wife Latashri. He had been accused of allegedly harassing her both physically and mentally for the last three months

Whereas, the upper sections of the society still manage to get an immediate response for such issues, other abuse victims hardly receive any attention. Usually, the police just issue warnings to the offender. They believe that it is a personal affair which the couples need to sort out between themselves. Manohar Hosea, a lawyer in the Bangalore high court, said that one of the victims, who filed a report in 2007, is still running around the courts to get justice.

A 240 percent increase in the number of domestic violence cases was reported during the period.

Four students from same school steal the show. Page 4

complaints come from people with a highly educated background’.


did not file a case in the court. It would not make a difference as you do not get justice on time.

The Domestic Violence Act, 2005 secures a woman’s right to housing, but it is applicable only after the case has been addressed. In the meantime, the victim may be subjected to even more abuse or left on the streets after being deserted by the abuser. NGO’s like Ashraya women’s center admit the victims do not receive any assistance from either the courts or the police. Padma Chidambaram, a counselor at the same NGO, said that “we discourage the victims to keep in touch with their husbands because when they come to know about their location, they often land up in the NGO abusing the victim verbally and physically”.

Police reopen case of dead Air Force cadet Nijum Rudra An Indian Air force cadet had a furious row with his best friend a day before his body was found on the railway tracks. The police earlier believed that Dhannajay Chaurasia had committed suicide, but have reopened thecase after the victim’s mother told them about the row. Dhananjay Chaurasia was found dead on the railway tracks on Monday night. He was from Uttar Pradesh. Police claimed that a suicide note was found beside the body. However, forensic reports taken after Chaurasia’s death indicate seven mystery red spots on his shirt which hint at foul play. When asked about the spots, Deputy Commissioner of Police, East, said that the case was still under investigation and that further updates will be provided as the case develops. Police said they have been unable to trace the friend he had a row with, but the Superintendent of Police said that more information would be forthcoming in the next couple of weeks.


The Observer

Thursday , 06 September 2012

Red tape at government offices stops families from collecting BPL cards

Street kids turn to drugs in desperation, says report Sidharth Shekar A NIMHANS study suggests that three out of every four street kids are using hard drugs on a daily basis.

the elder ones dominate over the younger members. Shinu says that the elder boys help younger boys in getting food and drugs, and

The study says that of the 281 children studied, 197 were regular drug users. A large section of street children, close to 78.7 percent are using various inhalants and cannabis. In the Kempe Gowda bus station in Bangalore, an 11 year-old rag picker says regularly sniffs glue and other inhalants like Dendrite and Erazex. He says that it helps him stave off hunger.

- Kriti Khandelwal

BPL applicants waiting outside the KFCSC office

Kriti Khandelwal Applicants for the BPL (Below Poverty Line) cards are facing problems in procuring them, as newly implemented government policies are leading to confusion within the various departments. The government has passed new laws for all ration card owners to submit their biometric data and an income certificate to renew their cards within three months. According to the government records, only 65,000 applicants out of the 33 hakh applicants appeared at the office of the Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Department to collect their BPL card. The problem lies in getting income certificates and biometric data analyzed to get BPL cards issued on time. The process usually takes more than 45 days to complete, which the BPL families can’t afford as Fair Price Shops are not giving them their rations till they’ve received their new cards. Referring to the poor families in Shivaji Nagar ,Mr. Riyaz Ahmed, owner of a cyber café said, “People here are in urgent need of food

because they cannot afford to buy it at the usual prices”. Mr. Ahmed, was one of the 32 members, who applied to the government for the permission letter which sought to understand the legality of the use of the biometric system for the BPL applications. “I can fight for these people, but who will support me?,” He asks. The reasons for the delay is because of slow management by the Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation. “There has been a lot of technical problems in the office”, said Sarita, Assistant Director of KFCSC. She said that due to the bulk printing of the cards and the heavy graphical data involved, the server in KFCSC keeps going down. Other problems contributing to the slow procedure of BPL card issuance is the number of steps involved which causes delay. Applicants are supposed to apply online and wait for food inspectors in their districts for inspection. Once the inspection is done, the accepted applicants are sent a security code through SMS which needs to be shown to photo centers






Applicants are then informed when they can collect their BPL cards at Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation Office, usually within 45 days. “There are about four food inspectors for each district, but there are many BPL card applicants. So everything is getting delayed”, said Mrs. Sarita. She stated that the food inspectors are non-technical people who are aged between 40-50 years which is another reason for the delay.

Another runaway, Shinu, is thirteen years old and says he is from Andhra Pradesh. He says that he left home after his father beat him after getting drunk. When asked if he missed his home or his parents, he simply says, “No. I don’t. The other children are my family and the street is my home.” Shinu, along with a community of eight other children, all aged 10 - 15 years, live together on the streets. Like how all systems work, even this community has a hierarchy and

in return, the younger boys steal food and money from passers-by. “We can skip their meals but not our inhalant bottles,” says another one of Shinu’s friends. Some of the street kids, who have not turned into full-fledged addicts as yet, work in factories illegally as underaged laborers or as rag and bottle pickers. “Our whole body pains after work. We go to places looking for rags. If we don’t do this we will die” says 11 year-old Nagesh.

Almost 1,000 women disappeared in two years, official statistics say Urmi Sengupta

BPL card applicants also need to get an income certificate which takes 21 days to be issued. They wait in long queues outside the offices. “I came here at 5 A.M and now it’s 1:30 P.M” said Mr. Ganesh, who came to collect his income certificate. He said he has been coming to the office for the last three days but the officials have denied him a card every time. Touts are also widespread in these offices. “They asked me for 500 Rupees to get this work done in 5 days. It is extremely frustrating”, Mr. Ganesh said.

Almost a thousand women have gone missing in Karnataka in the last two years, according to statistics provided by the Bangalore City Police.

Picture of the week

A child scavenging for empty bottles.

There have been 714 cases of missing women registered in the last 7 months, 304 of whom are teenagers aged 15-18. Of the 304, missing teenagers, 58 girls are still classified as missing by the police. Last year’s statistics conclude that there have been 579 reported cases of missing teenage girls, out of which 109 are yet to be traced. Also, in the last seven months, 410 women over the age of 18 have gone missing. Statistics from the previous year reveal that there are a total of 546 women who are presumed missing by the police till this very day. Superintendent of Women Welfare Center of the Government Reception Office, Ms. Vasanthi said that “from north Karnataka, women

are trafficked to states like Maharashtra and Goa.” When asked about human trafficking she said "Two Bangladeshis who were victims of human traffickficking have been rescued from Bangalore." She also said that “these women are generally trapped by agents — promising them jobs and education. The agents, after luring the women, then traffic them to other states, usually to work as cheap labor or as prostitutes. According to the superintendent of the Child Welfare Center “the number of missing children in the state is also very high. Children are chiefly used for begging on the road,” she said. Different conclusions are being drawn on missing cases. Some authorities say that these girls usually elope with their lovers, but welfare organizations say that the truth lies buried in the roots of human trafficking.


The Observer

Thursday , 06 September 2012

Plastic fumes choke Cubbon Park; authorities keep mum Shreya Mukherjee Piles of plastic waste are being burned inside Cubbon Park, as visitors fail to obey the ban of plastic inside the park premises. More importantly, the ambience and the greenery, which made the park a hub for walkers and tourists, is being destroyed by litterbugs who fail to dispose of plastic waste appropriately. The accumulated waste, after being collected is burnt in large piles by the caretakers of the park. And though the Horticulture Department has appointed many caretakers to manage plastic waste inside the park, officials say they are powerless to stem the tide as

garbage collection is irregular and there is a lack of dump yards in the area, further exacerbating the problem.

citizen of Bangalore since 1951 says, “the burning of plastic wastes inside the park creates air pollution and it is very unhygienic too. We, the common people and the regular visitors of the park have complained about it but the authorities have not taken any actions in this regard”.

Though the state government banned the burning of plastic in 2005, under various wildlife and environmental acts, the park continues to burn its plastic waste in full view of the public. Cubbon Park comes under the jurisdiction of Horticulture Department of Karnataka. The park used to spread across 370 acres, but now, it has shrunk to a little less than 200 acres because of the infringing buildings of the Vidhana Saudha, the High Court of Karnataka and the MLA hostel. This hazardous activity is done

generally at around 10 a.m. The time is particularly chosen by the caretakers so that the number of people in the park is minimal.

Patrons fleeced by greedy shopkeepers Pyusha Chatterjee Electronic shops near Kumbalgodu are overcharging patrons. A shop owner sold a 4 GB pen drive with the printed M.R.P as Rs.259, for Rs.380 to a student in Kumbalgudu. Various electronic items have also reported to have been overcharged by store owners in the area . They sell electronic gadgets like earphones whose price tag sticker has been removed or

scratched. This is the same case with pen drives in another shop in Kumbalgudu where the price is Rs. 350 for a 4GB pen drive. According to the norms laid down by the Legal Service India (LSI):“maximum retail price means such price at which the product shall be sold in retail and such price shall include all taxes levied on the product.” The LSI on its website also mentions that it is an offence to sell goods at prices exceeding what is marked on the product. Another shopkeeper of electronic goods sells goods at marked

Hawking during the festivities is an avenue for low wage laborers to earn extra money for themselves and their families. For most Indians, Independence Day might be just an occasion to celebrate the freedoms which have been achieved through continued struggle. But for some people empolyed as security guards, salesmen and unemployed immigrants, Independence Day is an occasion to sell

themed paraphernalia such as flags, hood ornaments and posters to passers-by in areas like Cubbon Park and Lalbagh “When everyone is celebrating their independence or a holiday like Diwali, we are usually selling items on the streets to supplement our income,” says Kumar, who also works as a security guard in the UB City mall. Kumar and his friends, who are also part-time hawkers, say that they earn up to Rs. 400 in profit

This practice inside is the primary cause of annoyance for many regular visitors. For instance, Nagappa, a regular visitor and a

Neglected city road poses risk to motorists

prices except on imported goods. He said: “We always sell pen drives under or on par with the MRP, if they are imported from Indian cities like Chennai and Mumbai.” He added that they only charge Rs. 20 extra if products are imported from China, which is the transport cost paid to the supplier. The people of Kumbalgudu do not have any idea about the practice and pay whatever is cited by the shopkeepers. A resident of Kumbalgudu Krishna said: “We just pay and buy. We usually don’t check the price tags.”

Independence Day throws up unique hawking opportunities Rohan D. Premkumar

- Shreya Mukherjee

Plastic waste being burned at Cubbon Park

The workers and the care takers have different tales to tale. Raju, a worker of the park said, “The burning of waste materials is not a regular practice. Sometimes they burn waste papers so as to clean the park. As far as plastic waste is concerned, it is being collected by the workers of the park so that regular visitors of the park do not feel inconvenienced.”

during the festivals. “We have to earn extra money during the holidays. Our families depend on us to provide them with some money during the holidays,” says Kamaal, another hawker. One of their major problems when selling items on the street is the police, they add. “They do not let us sell items on the main road. And though they are sympathetic sometimes. We have to run when we see them, because they might fine us,” says Kumar.

- Sumit Sumit The dilapidated condition of the service roads in Bellandur has created a nuisance to the residents living in the apartments along it. It has been more than two years now that a flyover was constructed on the outer ring road in Bellandur. The flyover, today, functions smoothly but the adjoining stretch of service road dug up during the period still needs repairs. Big potholes have resulted in narrowing of the road which leads to heavy traffic congestion at peak hours. The residents of the Citilights apartments located along the same stretch are those who are directly affected by the poor condition of the roads . Mr. Jairam, secretary of the apartment block said that nu-

merous complaints lodged with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike have fallen on deaf ears. “BBMP officials blame it on the Bangalore Development Authority. A BDA official, Jairam, however assure us of proper action. During the rains, the residents face further problems as water collected in the potholes overflows into the parking area of apartments situated at a lower height. . "After all the complaints made and action has been assured, we have adjusted with the situation. Do we have another option?” asked Swayam Sinha, a resident of block 61 B of the apartment. The resident also find it very difficult in commuting to and from their offices due to the frequent traffic jams on this stretch .

City lake remains dry, as departments feud over upkeep

A pasture land or a lake?

NikitaMalusare Delays in issuing tenders have halted development work at the Bommasandra Lake. Ashwanath Narayan,a Kodighealli

- Nikita M

corporator says that six crore rupees have been sanctioned for the development and refurbishment of the lake, but says that the issuing of tenders for the project is still in progress.

However, the Executive engineer of lake, Chandrashekhar, initially said that he did not know about any money which was allocated for the restoration of the lake, but later reneged on his original stance, saying that if any money had been sanctioned, then it would have gone to the LDA. Manjunath, who is a resident of the area surrounding the lake for the past three decades said that the lake has been dry for the past six years.

“During summers we face a lot of water problems as our bore wells also run dry. I have to spend Rs. 900 a month to call a tanker,” he added.

My children don’t even know there was a lake at this place.

Ansari, a localite, said “A few years ago, the untreated sewage of Yelankhana was let into the lake. The lake used to stink. And just two years ago, after a lot of appeals, there were high hopes for the restoration of the lake when the Lake Development Anthority drained out untreated sewage water. However, they did not reinject the water into it.”


“Lake water is important for both human and animal around it. It helps keep the bore wells around the area alive and it gives a place to dwell for aquatic life.” said S. Viswanath, advisor of the Rainwater club, a body which monitors and comes up with innovative

plans for better water management. “Water can be restored by letting treated waste water into the lake. For that Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has to build a sewage plant near it,” he said. Manjunath remembers boating across the lake as a child. Today he feels bad that he cannot take his children to the lake. His children are clueless whether the lake even existed, he says. “My children don’t even know there was a lake at this place,” says Manjunath, pensively. The lake is spread across 120 acres of land extending across three areas Vidyaranyapura, Kodighealli and Dood Bommasandara. The coordinators for the upkeep of the lake shirk responsibility and blame each other for the lake’s continued neglect. They refuse to accept responsibility.


The Observer

Thursday , 06 September 2012

Four students from same school steal the show

Cops refuse to file reports against stolen mobile phones Priyanka Roy Madiwala police officers are increasingly reluctant to solve cases where mobile phones have been stolen. Officers refused to file complaints in cases involving mobile phones and even manhandled people who requested a follow up on the complaints. Victims of theft claim that the officers consider these cases as petty. Victim Kiran Rajagopalansaid that when he went to the police station to lodge a complaint, the police officer refused to take it. He claims they didn’t even acknowledg the case and verbally assaulted him when he asked for an update. When Anirban Chowdhury, a resident of Madiwala, went to report his stolen mobile he claims police refused bacause he mobile cost below ten thousand rupees.

Budding stars on the path to glory

Deepu Aby Varghese Four young girls from the same school and class have been selected for the under-16 girls’ cricket south-zone tournament. The girls - Aksa, Rakshita, Rithika and Pratheeksha are students of Vanita Vidyalaya English Medium School, Belgaum. They study in class VIII. They beat over75 other girls from all over Karnataka.

- Deepu Aby Varghese

It came as a great surprise when the selectors chose all four girls from the same school and grade, something that rarely happens. Selectors were impressed and are confident in their performance for the upcoming matches. Mr. Nagaraj, Coach of the under16 girls cricket team said: “ From the moment I started coaching these girls, the four of them have shown immense confidence, eagerness and will to play,which I

rarely find, especially in girls.” " We have high hopes for them for matches to come in the future,” said one of the selectors." The girls are clear about what they want to do in their lives and have clearly decided that cricket is what their career would be." said their coach. The south-zone under-16 cricket tournament will be commencing from September 3.

As the training sessions are going on, the girls are equally excited about the matches. Aksa, south-zone wicket-keeper, said: " The tournament will be a turning point in my life. I really hope that I play well and win for the sake of everyone, including my family." The girls’ coach said that he also believed that the girls would go on to become very good cricketers, if they keep up the hard work.

Z. Baing, the sub-inspector of Madiwala police station, said that these kind of cases are quite common. He also added that the latest statistics point to an average ofseven cases of mobile theft registered every month. He added that the insurance companies plays a role in provoking the person who lost his/her mobile into filing a complaint. Baing also said that he is aware of people who are involved in mobile theft and promised to act on any complaints the department received. Kiran Rajagopalan also said that these incidents are not limited to Madiwala police station but also to Koramangala and other police stations. He said the incidents were affecting people as they lose faith in police officers.

The Observer Team Publisher : I ndia Institute of Journalism and New Media Address : Opp BGS International Residential School, Kumbalagudu, Kengeri, Bangalore, Karnataka

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Sidharth Shekhar

Vol 12, Issue2  

Angry locals lay siege to garbage dump Cases of domestic violence spike: many cases unsolved Plastic fumes choke Cubbon Park; authorities ke...

Vol 12, Issue2  

Angry locals lay siege to garbage dump Cases of domestic violence spike: many cases unsolved Plastic fumes choke Cubbon Park; authorities ke...