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ESG Team


Robert John ChandranDr. Robert John Chandran is a Tropical Plant Ecologist presently a Fellow at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, Bangalore. He has worked as a Smithsonian Fellow at the Dept. of Botany, University of Georgia, USA and University of Illinois. He has a Ph.D. from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and his past degrees include M. Sc. and M Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. His research interests include tropical forest ecology and management, conservation biology, protected area management and land use policy.  He is currently working full time as an Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences,  Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata. Email: robert.chandran[@]gmail.com 


Arthur PerieraArthur Pereira is an active human rights activist in Mangalore and has successfully led the demand for fair compensation by Dalit and minority communities due to the Bajpe airport for over a decade now. He played a key role in mobilizing communities affected by the Airport expansion plan in Bajpe and also fought the expansion of the airport at the State High court and later at the Supreme Court on grounds of safety.  He is well versed on matters relating to Land Acquisition and has helped hundreds of farmers to benefit from the provisions of Land Reforms Act. His expertise also lies in building homes and rain water harvesting units to ease the struggle for water in major cities such as Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore. Email: arthujpereira[@]gmail.com



Bhargavi finalBhargavi S. Rao
 graduated in Environmental Science and is a Botanist with an M’Phil degree in Aerobiology from Bangalore University. She also has a post graduate diploma in Journalism. Her initial research experience was in the areas of Microbiology and Cell Biology and she has worked at the Microbiology and Cell Biology Department of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. She has co-authored research papers in journals like Current Science and  Virology. She has had teaching experience as a lecturer in Botany and Microbiology at The BMS College for Women, Bangalore and also as a high School Teacher in Geography and Economics at the Sri Aurobindo Memorial School, Bangalore. Her interest in Environmental and Social justice issues brought her to Environment Support Group (ESG), where she has taken a leading role in a wide variety of Research and Educational projects and Campaign initiatives. She coordinates educational and training programmes at ESG with a focus on enhancing awareness and critical engagement in social and environmental justice issues. She has co-worked as Coordinator and faculty of the India sector of the ‘Cities of the 21st Century’ and ‘Health and Community’ courses of the International Honors program, a study abroad program from 2002-2009.   Bhargavi is currently co-Director of the India Centre of the Minnesota Studies in International Development, a division of the Learning Abroad Centre of University of Minnesota, USA. Bhargavi has also been a guest faculty at the Simpson Centre for Humanities, Washington University, Seattle in 2013. She has been a co-speaker at many of the talks and workshops on the issues of Environment and Social Justice in Universities across USA, Germany, Vietnam and China. In recognition of her long standing contribution in the voluntary sector, the Association for India’s Development has awarded her the AID “Saathiship” (2010-2013).  Her interests include Environmental Education, Experiential Education, Environmental health, Biodiversity, Traditional and Indigenous knowledge, Governance, Gender Issues, Law, Public Policy and Urban and Community studies. Email: bhargavi[@]esgindia.org


Leo finalLeo F. Saldanha
 is full-time Coordinator of ESG. He has gained wide-ranging experience in the areas of Environmental Law and Policy, Decentralisation, Urban Planning and a variety of Human Rights and Development related issues, working across many sectors for over a decade. He is a keen campaigner on critical environmental and social justice issues and has guided several campaigns demanding evolution of progressive laws and effective action. He has creatively supported various distressed communities to secure justice through public interest litigations and advocacy efforts, arguing as party in person several public interest litigations, many of which have resulted in remarkable judgments. In 2007, he co-authored the book “Green Tapism: A Review of the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification-2006” (2007) with team members at ESG. He has since co-authored "Tearing through the Water Landscape: Evaluating the envionmental and social consequences of POSCO project in Odisha, India" (20011), "Forfeiting our Commons: A Case for Protecting and Conserving Challakere's Amrit Mahal Kavals as Livelihoods-Supporting, Biodiversity-Rich and Ecologically-Sensitive Grassland Ecosystems" (2013), and a comprehensive review report of Environmental Decision Making in Karnataka State, in particular the State Environmental Clearance Committee (2014), amongst others. His papers and articles have appeared in many leading new papers, journals and magazines. Recently, he has contributed papers in "India's Risks: Democraticing the Management of Threats to Environment, Health and Values" (OUP, 2014) and "Living Rivers, Dying Rivers" (OUP, 2015). Leo facilitates a variety of learning programmes on environmental and social justice concerns for a wide range of audiences. He was the Country Coordinator and Faculty of the "Cities in the 21st Century" and "Health and Community" courses of the International Honours Programme, USA from 2002-2009. He is currently co-Director of the India Centre of the Minnesota Studies in International Development, a division of the Learning Abroad Centre of University of Minnesota, USA. He has a background in Environmental Science and has been invited as a speaker by organisations and universities across the world. In August 2010, he was invited as a speaker at the International Forum on China's Rural Reform in the 12th Five-Year Plan Period organised by the  Chinese Insitute for Reform and Development, a Chinese Government think-tank for reform in policy decision-making. In recognition of his contribution to environmental and social justice efforts, Association for India's Development, USA, made him their first  Saathi. Email. leo[@]esgindia.org


ESG Team

AbhayrajAbhayraj Naik is a researcher with the Environment Support Group, Bangalore and Visiting Faculty at Azim Premji University, Bangalore. He was an Assistant Professor at Azim Premji University from 2012-2015 where he taught courses on Political Philosophy and Politics in India, Law and Governance, Law and Society in India, Legal System Reform, Ecological Justice in India and Law and Justice. Abhayraj is currently building and institutionalising a robust clinical programe at Azim Premji University where small groups of students work on meaningfully advancing social justice through focussed projects that explore the legal policy and governance dimensions of development. Abhayraj holds law degrees from the National Law School of India University and Yale Law School, and has authored/co-authored a number of essays, articles, critical reports and monographs. At ESG, he is currently involved with campaigns and research involving ecological justice, environmental law and environmental politics. Email: abhay[@]esgindia.org

Mallesh- new

Mallesha K.R. is with ESG from the time of its inception. He has a degree in Sociology and has more than two decades of experience in field  assisting in various ESG campaigns, educational programmes, Public Interest Litigation and administration work. He hails from Coorg and has a deep understanding of the agricltural practices in India and the changing scenario. He was invited to University of Washington Seattle in 2013 for giving a talk titled “Who knows what, what it means”. Presently, he is the Coordinator- Field and he plans and implements programmes in rural Karnataka. Email:mallesh[@]esgindia.org 



Shashikala Iyer hails from Madhya Pradesh and is working with ESG from 2012. She has a M.Sc. in Limnology and M.A in Social work from University of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.  She has previously worked with various grass root NGOs as well as funding organisations across the country. She worked with UNICEF, Bhopal as Health & nutrition Consultant. At ESG she is the Outreach Coordinator and actively involved in managing documentation, media related queries, updates the website and organises community awareness programmes.  She is also the Homestay Coordinator of the India centre of the Minnesota Studies in International Development, a division of the Learning Abroad Centre of University of Minnesota, USA  Email: shashi[@]esgindia.org  



Pushpalatha B has a Bachelors Degree in commerce, with Diploma in Secretarial Practice and P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from Mysore University. Pushpa has earlier worked with children away from school and helped in bringing them into mainstream schooling. She has a deep understanding of rural school education and health system. In ESG she works as Library and Logistics Manager. She has experience of nearly two decades in office administration, accounts, documentation, training activities, fellowship programmes, preparation of training manuals and HR activities. In ESG she works as Library and Logistics Manager where she manages the ESG library and assists in administrative, educational and training activities. Email: pushpa[@]esgindia.org 


 Cheryl Vinita Braggs has a background in Journalism, Psychology & Literature, and has graduated from Christ University, Bangalore. She has interned with ESG during her school and university days, lending a helping hand in the ongoing campaigns and with working on migrating content on the website. After graduating, she worked as a Writer for over 3 years before joining the organisation. She now works as the Program Coordinator for the Minnesota Studies in International Development study abroad program that is hosted by ESG in Bangalore in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, USA. She also lends a hand in the educational workshops conducted by ESG. Email : cheryl[@]esgindia.org



 Nikhitha Lakshmikanthan has completed B.A LLB, specialised in Environmental Law and joined Environment Support Group in 2015. Her interests lie in Protecting, Conserving and helping restore the Environment, Composting, Organic Gardening, Music and Art. She is an Advocate and assists ESG in its Public Interest Litigations, Legal Research, workshops and matters related to furthering ESGs cause in Environmental and Social Justice. Email: nikhita[@]esgindia.org




Meenakshi Kushwaha joined ESG soon after completing her Master of Public Health (MPH) from University of Washington (UW), Seattle. As an Environmental and Occupational Health student at UW, Meenakshi worked on a variety of projects including lead mitigation in a Vietnamese e-waste recycling facility, working with the cooking and pneumonia study (CAPS) in Malawi, and with the Washington State Department of Health on developing a state-wide childhood lead screening policy. Prior to the MPH, Meenakshi worked as a biomedical researcher follwoing  a Master's of Science (MS) in Biomedical Engineering from University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2009. Meenakshi has also volunteered with the US based grassroots developmental organization, Association for India's Development (AID) since 2009. As an Environmental Health researcher at ESG, she is working on health impact assessments of toxic sites in and around Bangalore. Her passion for pollution mitigation and evidence based policy have found a good home at ESG where her work intersects the domains of environmental health research, justice, and governance. Meenakshi is also the Academic Coordinator of the India centre of the Minnesota Studies in International Development, a division of the Learning Abroad Centre of University of Minnesota, USA. Email: meenakshi[@]esgindia.org


SusheelammaSusheelamma ensures everyone at ESG eats wholesome and healthy food.     





S.Subha supports in the upkeep of ESG office and gives everyone a clean and healthy place to work.





Support Team 


Sunil Dutt Yadav is an Advocate in the High Court of Karnataka and has BA, LLB (Hons.) from the National Law School of India University. He is the Counsel for ESG in all legal matters. Email. Madhusudhan Kopparam is a communications and branding consultant, currently based in Belgium. He is remotely involved in a variety of environmental and animal rights campaigns and holds a Masters degree in Mass Communications from Bangalore University and an MBA from the Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, Belgium. Email.

Dr. Subramanya Sastry works with Wikimedia Foundation. Among other things, he has developed Newsrack, a software tool that helps track and archive news and also maintained the online support site for the Narmada Bachao Andolan and volunteered with ASHA, USA. He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Email. Anjali Vaidya has a background in biological sciences from Bryn Mawr College and supports the management of ESG's website. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of California, Irvine. Email.


Advisory Panel          

Dr. T.B Dinesh is the Founder and technology Director of Servelots (1999), which develops cost effective open source solutions and services. Servelots develops Pantoto, a collaborative open source platform.Dinesh is also an active member of the environmental group Hasiru Usiru and has provided open source web-based technology support to National Folk lore institute, and various community based tourism initiatives, pastoral communities as well as NGOs through Janastu (a non-profit trust). His current projects also involve browser based Open Course Ware in Computer Science education and Web accessibility for Inclusion of non-literate communities. Email:

Madhu Bhushan works with Vimochana, meaning liberation, initiated in 1979 by women and men from within the Centre for Informal Development Studies (CIEDS)collective, that had come together in 1975 to seek a just, humane and creative society rooted in transformative politics. Vimochana grew out of the need for a public forum that would stand for organised resistance to the increasing violence on women and would be assertive in challenging the pervading apathy to the problems of women in the context of larger structures of violence and power. Madhu is a leading activist in India to assert the rights of women and disenfranchised communities. Email:  

Dr. Subbarayan Prasanna retired as Professor of Urban and Regional Planning from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. He has made extensive contributions in a variety of urban and regional planning areas, is a leading expert on issues related to municipal law, urban finance and decentralization of urban administration and is also an architect. He assists a variety of civil society organisations in advocating planned and decentralized development for urban and industrial areas. The High Court of Karnataka appointed him as a Member of an Expert Committee to review urban infrastructure projects as a consequence of a PIL filed by ESG. Email:

Dr. Lakshmi Nilakantan is a Statistician with a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, USA and MS from Mc Gill University, Montreal. She has made seminal contributions in the area of Game Theory. She has several years of teaching experience in Minnesota, Indian Statistical Institute, Indian Institute of Management and schools in India. She has had corporate experience with Gallup. She is presently an independent consultant and Home Schooler. She advises ESG's research initiatives. Email:

Dr. Shirdi Prasad Tekur is an expert in Community Health, practicing Child Specialist and a well-known practitioner in Alternative Health Systems. An alumnus of St. John’s Medical College Hospital, he has discharged his services as a medical professional in the Defense Services in order to involve more actively in civil society. He is actively involved in ESG’s Community Access project at Raichur, Karnataka. The High Court of Karnataka appointed him as a Member of an Expert Committee to review urban infrastructure projects as a consequence of a PIL filed by ESG. Email: