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Vol. 12 Issue 5

Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore

20 September, 2012

Ghost town Bangalore after staging protests against the recent hike in fuel prices. Former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, along with the other BJP leaders Ananth Kumar, C M Chandrashekar, Ramachandra Gowda and Lakshmi Narayana were held at the Ashok Nagar Police Station for a little more than an hour. They were later released, after congregations of protesting BJP cadres were dispersed by the city police. “It is the duty of the police to maintain law and order, and sometimes it becomes necessary to take people into preventive custody. That is the reason we had to take them into custody,” said B R Ravikanthe Gowda, DCP (Central Division).

Photo: KPN

Current scenario

Yeddyurappa was detained near Maharani College and taken into preventive custody. hike in diesel prices and al- prevent any untoward incidents Reporting Team: Krishnaprasad S, Rohan Prem, lowance of Foreign Direct In- in the city. 20-25 units of RPF Nikita Malusare, Shruti Tiwari & vestment (FDI) received good personnel were deployed at railresponse across the state. way stations across Bangalore. Sumit All schools and colleges All shops and offices chose BANGALORE came to a across the city were closed. to remain shut and only essential standstill as the nationwide KSRTC and BMTC buses were commodities like milk and medbandh called by the opposi- off the road. However, a KSRTC ical services are available. tion affected mobility and official told ‘The Observer’ that some buses were operational in Yeddyurappa detained work across the city. The nationwide strike called the morning. "We operated Leaders from the top echeby the National Democratic Al- buses to Shimoga, Arsikere and lons of the state BJP were taken liance (NDA) and other opposi- Tumkur," he said. Police were on high alert to into preventive custody today, tion parties against the recent

The city was deserted until six in the evening after which the buses were back on the road. Shops around MG Road and Majestic Bus Station returned to normal. Police sources said that there were no cases of violence or stone pelting reported in the city.

Despite the production of a million incense sticks a month, the workers’ future is uncertain. >Page 2

The number of female addicts are on the rise but there are no female rehab centres. >Page 3

Background The Bharat Bandh is a part of a series of nationwide protests called by the opposition parties, opposing the hike in fuel prices, introduction of FDI in the retail sector and also the aviation industry. (Contd on Page 3)

Youth rally held in the city spotlights the plight of the young unemployed. >Page 4

Rachael Market three years ago. She said: “They often take me to the court and say they will release me soon but for the last three years I have been here. I miss my mother, father and elder brother.” She complained her parents are not aware of where she is

Photo: Debanti Roy

By Debanti Roy FORGOTTEN children as young as seven clean toilets in a government juvenile home awaiting justice. Jyoti, 14, was brought to the Department of Karnataka Women and Child Development when she was found begging in

No ray of hope for these girls in juvenile home.

and the authority has not informed them or taken her back home, despite frequent assurances. To add to the plight of these girls, the authorities are strict and make them do menial work. “They make us clean toilets and sweep floors. Leaders are chosen from among the inmates and these leaders even beat us up badly if the work is not done properly,” said Jyoti. It’s the same case with Geetha, 11, and Meghna, 7. They were brought to the juvenile home 15 days ago when they were found begging in Morar. Geetha said: “I was begging in a railway station when a police officer caught hold of me and Meghna, and brought us here.” “My father does not know where I am and he must be looking for me. I keep telling them to take me back to my father but they take no action,” she added. According to the Prevention

Photo: Debanti Roy

Girls in juvenile home only want to go back home

Some girls have spent three years awaiting trial. of Begging Act, 1959, begging is said: “It is not morally right to an offence and juveniles found make the children do such work. guilty by a court of law can be Even if the police bring the chilsentenced to a minimum of one dren to juvenile homes, their priyear and a maximum of three ority should be contacting their years. parents.” Aditya Mathur, Public Rela(Names of the children have tions Officer of the social devel- been changed to protect identiopment organization Pankhudi, ties).


02

20 September 2012 | City

The Weekly Observer

Workers toiling hard for long hours.

Prescription guidelines violated, scores of lives being put at risk Photo:Aghila Alex

Dr. R.S. Yadav been no such incidents. The doctor is very good and we trust the doctor completely.” The MCI in its guidelines says that an Ayurvedic doctor is not allowed to prescribe allopathic drugs. The AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, & Homeopathy) doctors are still agitating against the MCI to amend the regulation and allow them to practice allopathic medicines. This is a long standing struggle between the council and the AYUSH doctors. The MCI has still maintained a status quo on the amendment. On repeated attempts of contact with the doctor, the doctor refused to comment on the issue every single time.

A woman at work in the factory. any labor laws, and these women are deprived of benefits like Provident Fund and Employee State Insurance unlike their counterparts working in licensed factories. Another young mother, Ausar said: “We do not get any other benefit from our employers apart from our daily wages.” Long hours of sitting and pressing out incense sticks result in headache, backache and

severe pain in the hands for the workers. According to Shabnam, there is no use of going to government hospitals to get treatment as they are always overcrowded. Shaheena, 55, said: “I get severe backaches because of the long hours, but have no other support as none of my children stay with me. I do not know how I will fend for myself after the unit is closed”.

Blind people hurt on danger road By Nupur Gour & Tulika Mall

By Pushkar Banakar AN Ayurvedic doctor in Gola halli village is prescribing allopathic drugs risking lives of numerous villagers. The lone private clinic in Golahalli village is run by Dr. R.S. Yadav. He is an ayurvedic doctor by qualification. As there are no pharmacies in the vicinity, the local residents approach this clinic for their treatment. He prescribes allopathic drugs although he is not qualified to do so. The Medical Council of India (MCI), which is the regulatory body for doctors in the country, has set certain guidelines for prescription of drugs by doctors. A local, Chenappa, when asked if he knew about the regulation, said: “I don’t know anything about the rules. The doctor treats us well and we are happy that he practices here.” Another villager, Saraswati, when asked if any incidents of death or injury have occurred due to wrong prescription of medicines, said: “No, there have

said: “We are working in this unit because it’s near our house, and we can also keep an eye on the children.” She added: “Besides, the company is not going to provide bus fares. How can we manage so many expenses with only Rs. 100 per day?” It is strange to note that none of the women know who their employer is. The raw materials for production are delivered to them every day in the morning, and the finished products are carried away in trucks once a week. The workers know only the middleman who pays their daily wages. Incense stick manufacturing in India primarily thrives on unorganized women working in slums and villages. Companies engage poor women in small, dingy rooms and dole out Rs. 100-120 for eight hours of strenuous work. These unregistered units do not come under the purview of

BLIND people face a daily assault course of filth, debris and broken footpaths on their way to a training center. The footpaths are in complete disarray. The trainees of the National Association for the Blind face a bigger threat as it is the main road connecting to the Association. M. Srinivas, the chief executive officer of National Association for the Blind, said: “The blind people face a lot of problems due to the negligence of the authorities. He also added: “There should be proper planning by the authorities and try to make the infrastructure disabled-friendly.” The management of the association is worried about the conditon of the pavement. Narsimhan, a trainee at the center, said:”The manholes are deep and create a problem for us to walk on the footpath. Some of my old fellow mates have been hurt while walking on these footpaths.”

The footpath is regularly blocked by the vehicles parked on it. The slabs of the pavement are either broken or protruding and one cannot even step on them. Mr. Jay Kumar, the head of the mobility training center of the Association, said: “We have complained a lot of times but no action has been taken.” “The only immediate action is often make-shift and at times, more dangerous,” he added. We provide them with mobility training but it becomes diffi-

cult when a hole that had not been there before appears all of a sudden.” There was no significant response from authorities even after repeated complaints. The association has decided to give up even though the footpaths seem to get worse by the day. “The people need to act more responsibly as it is a huge problem for everyone, especially the blind,” said M. Srinivas, when asked about the lack of action from the concerned authorities.

Photo:Tulika Mall

everyday for a paltry Rs. 100. However, the middleman who engaged them was not happy with the production and declared that the unit would be closed on October 1. He wants the women to shift to another bigger unit near Kengeri but workers say that it would be difficult for them to work away from home. Shabnam, a mother of two,

Photo:Kakoli Mukherjee

By Kakoli Mukherjee SLUM workers who earn just one rupee for every 400 incense sticks they make have been threatened with closure by gang bosses. The unit, which is distributed between two small, dimly-lit rooms in a slum in Nayandahalli, accommodates 10 women workers. Each woman makes 4000 incense sticks (agarbattis)

Photo:Kakoli Mukherjee

Uncertainty looms despite a million incense sticks a month

Garbage lying on the broken pavement of Jeevanbima nagar.

By Reshma Tawrani ALMOST 100 illegal places of worship in the city are blocking development projects, according to state officials. Out of 92 illegal temples, mosques, gurudwaras and churches in the city, only 12 have been demolished by the government. Communities like Hindus and Muslims have more than 50 illegal temples and mosques, interrupting several BBMP projects.. Chief engineer (BBMP), south zone, said: “We would have taken this initiative long ago but due to political pressure, we are not able to do anything. We started demolishing these temples only six months ago because they are occupying public property and government land”. Assistant Engineer Shivprakash added that they started

Photo:Reshma Tarwani

Devotion holding back city’s development

An illegal temple in the heart of Vijaynagar. demolishing the temples and been ear-marked for an amuseplanning new parks and devel- ment park. They added, though BBMP sent a notice to the temopment projects. Residents of Jaya Nagar and ple trustees a year ago telling J.P Nagar in South Zone say them to shift their location, the more than five temples have temples stand as before. been built on the land which had M.P Gouri, a resident of Jaya

Nagar, said: “We have been facing problems with temples but these trustees are creating even more problems. “They regularly conduct rituals and dump the waste in the park, and if anybody tells them

to clean this waste, they behave like deaf and dumb”. In 2008, a 15-year-old Ayyapa temple was demolished by BBMP because it was built on the forest department land. According to the BBMP, the temple had been the root cause of traffic problems for citizens in areas such as Vannerpet, Jayanagar, and Vijaynagar. Residents also face problems each day due to demands of donations by temple trustees. A resident, Chandrasekhar, said: “For every small occasion, the temple authorities are asking for funds and that too not less than Rs.500. We have to oblige in the name of religion and God.” There is an old temple situated in Vijaynagar known as Maruti Temple which is listed among BBMP’s 92 illegal and unauthorized temples. It has been built in the heart of Vijaynagar.


City

20 September, 2012 | 03

The Weekly Observer

There are a few rehabilitation centers for men which admit women. Detox centers attached to hospitals treat men and women on a 28-days program. There is also a social stigma attached to female addicts in our country. Neetha, a recovering addict, said: “My friend’s father had once taken her to Delhi to get treated, but he was not comfortable admitting his daughter to a facility filled with men and just a couple of women in a room”. Preena, another recovering addict, said: “Indians may wear coats and ties, but their minds have not progressed. Women addicts are considered to be sluts.” According to the Miracle Foundation, majority of women addicts’ families shy away from admitting the fact that there are addicts in their families. The government should take steps to address the situation. “The main problem we face is from our families and the society. “They are more concerned about societal repercussions and that their family name will be

Bangalore metro commuters not yet on their bikes By: Shromona Bose

Photo: Shromona Bose

THE plan to introduce bicycles equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) within the metro catchment areas should finally be implemented by mid-October.

BMRCL, Shanti Nagar. Divya Sridharan, Executive Assistant Legal supervisor, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), said: “We expect to implement the plan by mid-October.” “Our main objective is to provide commuters with these cycles so that they can travel short distances for any sort of work without waiting long hours for other transport.” she added. The charge for hiring a cycle is still not fixed as the authorities are apprehensive as to how

metro rail commuters are going to welcome this new proposal. A person hiring such a cycle will have to pay an extra sum of money at the time of purchasing the metro ticket. The fare will vary on the basis of the distance and the time travelled. The authorities of the BMRCL refused to reveal the name of the company. They also do not want to reveal the service provider with whom they have signed the deal of providing these bicycles. They plan to keep the information confidential until and unless the plan is successfully implemented. The GPS monitoring systemattached to every cycle helps totrack them and find parking space for the commuters. After the work is done the person hiring the cycle is expected to bring it back to their actual destination. Cycle stands are supposed to operate from six main metro stations which include Byappanahalli, Swami Vivekananda Road, Indiranagar, Ulsoor, Trinity and M.G Road. Five to six bicycles were planned to be made available at each station.

Photo: Arun Chandra Protesters at Town Hall. (Contd. from page 1) Commuters were stranded at Majestic, Shivajinagar, Yeshwantpur, KR Market and Kengeri BMTC bus stations. Those who arrived by trains were stranded at the railway stations. Some of them hired autorickshaws and boarded private buses to reach their homes. Auto drivers fleeced the commuters quoting a high price. Ramesh Babu, who had to visit his mother in St. Johns Hospital, had no idea how he would make it to the hospital from Majestic Bus Terminul. Electronic City, where many IT and BT companies are situated, was also deserted. The IT companies have deployed Cen-

tral Security Force personnel to man important infrastructure on their campuses. In Mysore, BJP workers stopped a Kannada film shooting schedule where a Bangalore based actress, Ramya, was involved. Ramya, who recently had joined the Congress party, argued with BJP workers, who interrupted the shooting. Cities like Davanagere, Hubli-Dharwad, Mandya, Shimoga, Tumkur and Mangalore also wore a deserted look. J.S. Naidu told ‘The Observer’ that he did not support the introduction of FDI in the retail sector. Naidu was a member of the Congress for the past thirty years.

Photo: Arun Chandra

Women drinking in a bar. By: Satyajith GD THERE are no rehabilitation centers exclusively for women in the city though the number of women addicts is on the rise. There are around 40 drug and alcohol rehab centers for men in the city. Miracle Foundation, India’s first and only rehab centre for women, have started admitting men too because of lack of funds. Dr. Prakash of Sai trust Rehabilitation Center said: “Sociocultural changes have altered the traditional role of women and the number of women addicted to drugs and alcohol is increasing”. Drug addiction and alcoholism are rarely talked about as our culture does not entertain addiction of any kind. The country’s official statistics never show the number of female drug addicts. Thus, the exact increase in the number cannot be determined. Addiction is a medical issue that requires numerous ongoing behavioral, medical and recovery support services.

spoiled if the matter comes in open,” said Neetha. The doctor further added: “The age group of women addicts seeking help at the Sai Center ranges from 15-60 years. They begin by sniffing Erasex and gradually take up smoking weed, and before long, they are using hard drugs or party drugs such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.” According to the center, women in the age group of 2130 years mostly use party drugs. Women between 25 and 40 years are housewives and a majority of them get addicted to sedatives and prescription drugs, and a small percentage to alcohol. The reasons cited for taking to drugs are marital problems, separation, physical abuse, depression and even boredom. Women in the age group of 40 years and above are mostly addicted to alcohol. Dr. Prakash said: “I consider alcohol addiction to be a disease, and all addicts should be cured of it. “I was myself an alcoholic for two years, and after I was cured, I chose to come here and do my bit for humanity,”added DrPrakash. Sai Center has treated six female patients. The doctor added: “We follow a 12-step rehabilitation program followed by AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).” He added: “This program forms the basis of recovery from all addictions.” There are no rigid monetary rules followed and the center offers free treatment and discounts to addicts from the economically weaker sections of society. (Names have been changed to protect identity).

Woes of commuters

Ghost town: A rare scene at KR Market.

Private and Confidential By Sneha Banerjee THE demand by telecom companies to provide bank statements has raised data security concerns among customers. Under critical circumstances postpaid mobile customers are asked to give their bank statements of the last six months as an authentic address proof if they wished to effect a change in address. Amarnath, an Airtel customer , who wished to change the address for her postpaid number said: “I am not comfortable giving my bank statements as an address proof to a private telecom company. Though we give copies of our bank statements for issuing a passport but when it comes to a private organization people tend to think twice before revealing such details.” The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) considers a passbook of “any scheduled bank” as an authentic address proof. Private telecom companies accept passbooks of nationalized banks alone. Different verification procedures are being followed by different telecom companies.

Shaifo, Team Leader at Reliance World, said, “Recent bank statements are necessary as they show that the account is still running.” Shafio also added that for the satisfaction of the customer they score out the account number from the document as it is not required. He also mentioned that the misuse of sim cards and data cables in the past have forced the telecom companies to take strict verification methods. Pavan, Assistant Manager at a Vodafone Store, said: “We take bank statements only when a company asks for bulk connections”. He also added that for individual connections they take a

covering letter, or a copy of the first page of a passbook of a nationalized bank. Raghavan, Branch Manager of Canara Bank, said: “TRAI rules cannot be amended, so we give the customers their bank statements back when they ask for it after verification.” He also added that he personally felt a covering letter would be sufficient. It goes to show that there is no similarity in the rules followed by all of them. The insecurity of the customers is very justified in this scenario. This scenario will affect the compatiblity of banking and development of telecom sector in the state.

Photo: Sneha Banerjee

Photo: Satyajith GD

Female addicts get a raw deal

Bank documents make mobile connections feasible .


04

| City 75 lakhs granted for maintainance yet ciggarette stubs continue to litter BBMP offices

The Weekly Observer

20 September 2012

Rally highlights unemployment rates in the country

Photo: Udita Chaturvedi

Krishnaprasad. S BANGALORE Bruhat Mahanagar Palike(BBMP) spends Rs. 75 lakh annually towards maintaining its offices while gutkha packets and cigarette butts lie strewn over the premises.

Youth march from the Bangalore City Junction railway station to the Freedom Park. about the alarming unemployment situation in the country and aimed to work hard to unite and mobilize the youth of the country in the struggle for an empowered India. This conference was attended by 750 delegates, including the members of Central Empowered Committee, and about 25,000 comrades who attended the rally in the city. Alinkeel said: “The Global Employment Trends 2012, a report by the International Labour Organisation, has pointed out the decline in rate of unemployment in the South Asia was mainly driven by India. The growth here has propelled

By Aheli Raychaudhuri

Pedestrians gasp for breath as subways flouts basic hygiene

THE foot subways on Nrupthanga Road reek of urine and alcohol. The commuters face problems but have no option other than this passageway to avoid the traffic overhead. The BBMP has not cleaned this particular subway in the last 6-7 months.

BBMP premises in Bangalore are turning out to be convenient dumpsters for gutkha consumers and smokers. One of the BBMP offices in the city on J C Road is an illustration of this menace. The staff of BBMP flouts the rule of no smoking in public places and government offices. “They eat paan, chew gutkha and smoke in toilet creating problems to public. We can’t even walk on the floors of the office. It smells odd. Gutkha is spit on almost all the walls of the office”, said Mohan who visits BBMP often.

trajectory guided by neo-liberal reforms. According to Alinkeel, the scope of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act should be expanded to include all individuals and the 100 days cap should be enhanced. Financial support, self help groups and small enterprises should be enhanced for self employment schemes”. The 9th India Conference aims at building a mass movement against the problem of unemployment. Hopefully, this movement will somewhat counter unemployment.

Some of the BBMP offices in the city are situated on the second or third floor, and there are no proper flooring facilities. Most of the flooring at the BBMP offices have uneven flooring that causes inconvenience to elderly visitors.

Agitated traders confront mayor after garbage blaze

But I don’t mind climbing even if it is difficult hoping that my work would be done without bribing them.”

the increase in labour productivity rather than the expansion of employment. This shows that the much hyped growth story of India is nothing but a job-less growth. We believe that both the industrial and the service sectors have failed to absorb the surplus workforce from the agricultural sector. Adding to their woes, government’s proposed plans of including FDI in retail sector will only worsen the unemployment situation in the country.” The march participants believe the aggravated unemployment situation reflects the absurdity of a lopsided and imbalanced growth

Nijhum Rudra FURIOUS shop owners confronted the city mayor after a heap of garbage caught fire at Indiranagar. Last week the garbage on CMH road caught fire at about 11:30 am. People went to Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) head office to report the fire incident. They were denied entry by the security initially. The shopkeepers managed to get to the mayor later. The Public Relation Officer and the mayor advised them to go to east zone office which would handle the entire issue. The mayor told them that head office is helpless in this matter, as each area comes under a specific zone of BBMP. Although two trucks are always parked to collect the waste but on weekend the pile is mammoth and there are no trucks to collect the same. Weekends also need some vehicles to tackle this crisis but the BBMP is turning a blind eye to it. The unbearable stink of the garbage piled near the shops makes it difficult for their owners to run their business. Max retail store on CMH road is facing this terrible problem. The owner said:” We are fed up with BBMP, we lodged more than 65 complaints but they are simply ignorant. Most of the times I have to shut down my shop especially on weekends which is the best time to increase my sale.” The narrow lane on CMH road is the main entrance which is piled up with garbage all the time. Last

By Nijhum Rudra

Udita Chaturvedi A youth rally in the city last week highlighted the problems of unemployment in the country. The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) conference in Bangalore started with a protest march from the Bangalore City Station to Freedom Park, followed by a five-day long conference in the city. The conference headed by the All India DYFI President, Mr. Sriram Krishna among other leaders and prominent personalities, discussed at length the abysmal state of unemployment in the country. Sandeep Alinkeel, Office Secretary of DYFI (Kerala), said: “The number of job seekers registered stood at a staggering 3.81 crore at the end of 2009. 2.9 crore of them were educated job seekers.” “About 90 lakh of them were uneducated. In Kerala alone, more than 45 lakh people have been registered for employment exchange,” he added. Ranjeeth AV, a block leader, said: “We are fighting against globalization, imperialism and communalism within the country.” Kavyan C, one of the participants of the march, said: “The purpose of this march and conference is not just to tell people something but to bring a change.” Alinkeel said: “Unemployment is a national level issue which has now turned into a global phenomenon.” The DYFI was concerned

Garbage on CMH Road. week the garbage caught fire which created heavy chaos among the pedestrians and shopkeepers. Mayor, D. Venkatesha Murthy, said: ”I know that the narrow lane is the main road and has shops on both the sides. I received more than 65 complaints from that area which is always filled up with garbage and is stinking and spreading infection. We will take up this issue seriously within a week.” The area is crowded and always chaotic. The area is the main centre of shopping and restaurants which most of the time remains closed on weekends because of garbage in front of their shops. The situation worsens during rain when this garbage spreads on the entire road. Although there have been numerous proposals and promises made by the officials of Bangalore Bruhat Mahanagar Palike, the citizens are yet to see them implemented. The officials will start their work from the third week of September. All the arrangements are ready to be implemented.

To add to the visitors’ woes, there are no lift facilities in any of the BBMP offices in the city except the BBMP main office at Corporation Circle. Bhima Rao, a senior citizen, said: “How can we walk and climb till second and third floor? It is very difficult for us to climb up. They have to keep all aspects in mind and work according to it.

The Observer Crew IIJNM PUBLICATIONS Opp. BGS International Residential School Nityanandanagar, Kumbalgudu Kengeri Hobli Bangalore - 560060 India Ph.No: +919008805218 Email: sneha.b@iijnm.org Website:www.thesoftcopy.org For private circulation only The Weekly Observer Editor Sneha Banerjee Chief Sub-Editor Kakoli Mukherjee Photo Editor Udita Chaturvedi Page Editors Krishnaprasad. S Aheli Raychaudhuri Reshma Tarwani Satyajith GD Proof Readers Pushkar Banakar Nupur Gour Debanti Roy Shromona Bose


Vol 12, Issue5