Week 3 Of ESG Imaginaries To Make Cities Work: Mobility & Infrastructure

ESG has worked with street communities to reclaim streets as public commons, to protect street vendor rights, to promote pedestrian and cycling rights, to secure urban greenery – especially tree lines and heritage spaces, all to promote the idea of a  city that would ensure inclusivity is central to such public spaces and infrastructure. The argument has been and continues to be that there must be deep democratisation of decision making relating to mobility and infrastructure development so that the promise of Article 39 B – that ownership and employment of material resources best serve the  common good – is actually an argument for  protecting commons, ensuring good health, promoting environmentally viable and equitable livelihoods, and ensuring the city is a construct that is socially responsible, economically viable and ecologically wise.  

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Week 2 Of ESG Imaginaries To Make Cities Work: Challenges Of Securing Urban Commons

ESG has worked with this problematique of the commons and demonstrated how securing them can be a win-win for all. Working with communities to resist privatisation of commons, such as lakes, and then asking for a policy to protect them with Public Trust Doctrine and the principle of intergenerational equity  as the basis, has resulted in path breaking outcomes – rehabilitation of lakes as inclusive commons and as sacred spaces that deserve community and statutory protection to advance ecological and water security. 

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Week 1 Report: Waste And Governance

The 1st webinar as part of the ESG Imaginaries To Make Cities Work was on the theme Waste And Governance and held on 7th July 2022 (5-7 pm). Kirthee Shah, Founder President of INHAF set the tone by explaining the background to the series. The webinar was anchored by Leo F. Saldanha, Coordinator and Trustee of ESG, and Bhargavi S. Rao, Trustee and Senior Fellow at ESG, who also provided an introduction to ESG’s diverse efforts on governance of waste management, and its implications to governance overall. Respondents were Prof. Amita Bhide, Dean, School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences; Rizwana Hasan of Bangladesh Environmental Law Alliance; Maitreyi Krishnan of Manthan Law and Shibu Nair of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

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Week 1 Of ESG Imaginaries To Make Cities Work: Waste And Governance

For over two decades, ESG has focussed on the emerging urban environmental and socio-economic challenges and has been working with multiple communities, government agencies, academia, media, etc. The approach has always been about finding viable and inclusive solutions to vexatious problems advocating deeply democratic processes that draw on  intersectoral, interdisciplinary, intersectional experiences, knowledge and histories. Bangalore and other cities today are in a mess as they follow highly centralised governance approaches that drift from existing legal provisions in which the various local publics find no place to imagine their futures as part of a collective imagining of the city’s future.

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All Saints Church – Sacred Living Heritage Of Bengaluru – Saved For Posterity

At a time when the meeting of minds is so very rare, this effort by the All Saints Church congregation, BMRCL, Government of Karnataka, and various supporters of the cause, including ESG, stands out as representative of the enormous possibilities of democratic engagement. The conciliation mechanism organised by EIB helped in this process. This also helped ensure that the contestations did not end up in Court, burdening further the judiciary, and without a clear outcome in sight.

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Statement By CNDP: Mislaunch Of The Indian Unarmed Supersonic Cruise Missile In Pakistan

The CNDP, therefore, demands that the Government of India, as the first step, provide a credible explanation regarding the mislaunch and about its failure to alert the Pakistani Government immediately thereafter in violation of agreed norms.
We also urge the governments of India and Pakistan to immediately work out credible and effective confidence-building measures (CBMs), revive the multiple channels of communication to avoid any misunderstandings and set up a functioning joint monitoring mechanism to avert the possibility of a disaster arising out of any accident in future.

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Legal Awareness Workshop- Functioning Of Lake Protection Committees At Municipal, District, And Apex Levels

As part of the Pan-India Awareness and Outreach Campaign proposed by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence, ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA), and Environment Support Group (ESG) organised a virtual Legal Awareness Workshop relating to the functioning of Lake Protection Committees at Municipal, District and Apex Levels constituted in accordance with directions of the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka in WP 817/2008. The workshop was organised from 25 Oct to 28Oct 2021 for members of the Apex Lake protection Committee and administrators of Bangalore Division, Kalaburagi Division, Belgaum Division, and Mysore Division.

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Public Statement Demanding Strict Action Against Communal Elements Threatening With Dire Consequences Those Working To Protect Begur Lake

The undersigned unequivocally, and in a single, strong, and clear voice absolutely condemn this assault on the honour of the High Court of Karnataka, on the rule of law,  and on those who are working tirelessly to protect lakes as commons for the sake of present and future generations. At a time when the world is grappling with the critical importance of saving such biodiversity-rich wetlands as a means of tackling the adverse consequences of climate change

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Dalit Families Targeted In Demolition Drive Undertaken By Bangalore Development Authority In Doddabettahalli (Yelahanka Hobli, Bangalore North)

In a most shocking development, officials of the Bangalore Development Authority, backed by Bangalore Police, destroyed about 10 houses of villagers of Doddabettahalli. Each and every one of the families affected were from Dalit communities. In a similar drive, about 22 houses had been demolished at Somashettahalli, Meda Agrahara and Lakshmipura villages of the same region a few days ago, which resulted in widespread protests.

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A New Chapter In Decentralised Governance Of Lakes Of Karnataka: Principal Bench Of Karnataka High Court directs The State To Constitute District Lake Protection Committees In Environment Support Group V. State Of Karnataka (WP No. 817 Of 2008)

On 15 June 2021, the Principal Bench of the Karnataka High Court headed by Chief Justice Abhay Oka pronounced an order that will significantly change lake governance across Karnataka state, in rural and urban areas. This order will now pave the way for truly decentralised governance of lakes as commons, allowing the local public direct access to these Committees. The order was issued in response to an application made by Leo F. Saldanha, Coordinator of Environment Support Group, who sought modifications to the landmark 2012 judgment in ESG’s Lakes PIL Environment Support Group v. State of Karnataka (W.P. No. 817/2008), to strengthen lake governance from the ground up.

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Week 8: Reimagining Bengaluru’s Infrastructure As Resilient To Climate-Change

The ‘smart city’ projects have skewed relationships between intent and impact, with massive investments being made in gentrified neighborhoods to the neglect of most other areas of the metropolis. Meanwhile, investments in essential social, education and health infrastructure remain stagnant and are even declining. Would turning planning and development into deeply democratic and decentralised processes and promoting self-sufficient neighborhoods be the answer to reducing the carbon footprint of the metropolis and adapting Bengaluru to climate change impacts?

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Webinar Report: Securing Clean Air And Inclusive Mobility For Bengaluru

“Environmental justice, transportation justice, street justice are all deeply political matters, and to see it merely from a technical perspective will not give us the answers…It is also important to try and create a network where it doesn’t become a government-driven system alone. As consumers we have power. As consumers, we are not effectively networked to propel the transformation that is essential”

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Week 7: Securing Clean Air And Inclusive Mobility For Bengaluru

Everyone pays a very high price for mobility in Bengaluru. Incredible traffic snarls cost precious time, money, infrastructure and public health, and substantially erode the ‘salubrious’ quality of the metropolis. With an astonishing 0.8 to 1 vehicle to population ratio, Bengaluru metropolitan area is amongst the most fossil fuel dependent urban spaces globally. Air quality is significantly deteriorating, resulting in severe health impacts, especially for the poor and marginalised.

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Webinar Report: Making Bengaluru Energy Independent

“Is it possible to keep this city running with this pattern of consumption and demand for energy? How are BESCOM and KPTCL sustaining this supply? What are the challenges of the petrochemical sector in supporting fuel demands? Is there a way that we could shift to more sustainable sources, such as renewable energy, and can those transitions be just for all involved? Will such just transitions require Bangalore Metropolitan Planning Authorities to imagine futures that are based on sustainable energy systems, in contrast with the prevailing extractive and unsustainable systems? And can we ensure all homes (be they of rich, poor or middle classes), institutions, offices, government buildings will find ways to consume less power and shift to alternate forms of locally generated power?”

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A Landfill Is No Place To “dispose” Of Our Dead. BBMP Needs To Reconsider Its Decision To Set Up An Open Crematorium At The Mavallipura Landfill.

The entire world has been afflicted with COVID. But nowhere has a landfill been used to cremate loved ones. We must all work together to ensure there is dignity and grace in conducting final rites of the unfortunate departed, and in a place appropriate for such terribly sad occasions. It has to be a place worthy of a sacred ritual.

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