Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Media Coverage

Kavitha Reddy Articles and Quotes in Media

1. For Basecamp Adventures

2. For Social Cause & Citizen Journalist

   - Citizens’ drive at Agara Lake collects 70 bags of plastic, Citizen Matters 
   - Agara Lake - Living on the Edge, Times of India Neighborhood Edition
   - Relieving Questions (Public Toilets in HSR Layout), Times of India Neighborhood Edition

3. For Kaagaz Foundation

   - Women's Day Celebration, Times of India Neighborhood Edition

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

MiG n Kamet

MiG named after the fighter aircraft & Kamet named after a mountain are the stress busters at home. Other than showing off their stress buster skills they also specializing in crashing out basically anywhere anytime. Mom-Daughter duo just know how to get their way :) 

- Kavitha Reddy

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Education Means

Education is the key to Empowerment; it opens our hearts and minds to greater possibilities hence Education = Possibilities.

I can never imagine education as just college/university degrees or certificate nor will it end with it, education is a continuous process and the day you stop it, it only means you have shut the doors on possibilities.

Education is also a gateway to explore self and to view the world from different perspectives. It nurtures reasoning & rational thinking and gives me the strength to challenges the odds & status-quos.

It indeed empowers me to influence a better tomorrow and to leave behind a better society when my journey ends.

I truly believe in what Nelson Mandela said ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. 

- Kavitha Reddy 

Education Times: http://educationtimes.com/ads/ge/article2.html

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Go Girl! Travel the World

Last few years has witnessed a significant increase in Indian travelers and particularly women. Travel is indeed a hobby/interest that women have taken to with great enthusiasm; financial independence, connectivity, accessibility and technology have opened up the world to women. Several destinations have even gone a step further to offer special travel/holiday packages for women travelers.

Sadly an increase in brutal crimes against women across the country (both rural and urban) is going to have a huge impact on this new found travel freedom. One can debate and nuance the cause of increasing crime against women, but mobility and freedom to travel is indeed a key factor that determines the level of participation of women in the economy, politics and social structure. The fear is that the increase of violence against women will deter participation of women in all fields and will end up pushing us 15-20 years backwards.

One of the very important aspects of women empowerment is providing a safe environment for women who travel on work or leisure. As a traveler I am very concerned that incidents of violence against women will result in more social restriction and lesser focus on creating a safe environment and empowering women. It will be a sad day when the fear of crimes against women will stop many of us from going out exploring and traveling the world.

Yes there is a lot that the governments have to do to create a safe environment for everyone irrespective of gender. Our society should take more responsibility in not just condemning the crimes against women but also grooming the boys in their homes to respect women and treat them as equals, and more importantly as humans.

But as women travelers we need to start taking control, unless we do not get confident about ourselves and be prepared at all times we will be curtailed with restrictions and fears. As a traveler I have been travelling for many years mostly alone. Be it the buses in UP or Rickshaws in Mumbai or the Jeeps in Uttarakhand I have travelled in some of the most remote areas across the country, three things that always makes me feel safe are Confidence, Awareness and Preparedness.

  • Be confident about yourself mentally and physically
  • Learn basics of self-defense, which will make you more physically confident/aware
  • Do not disclose information about your travel
  • Avoid any eye contact or talking with strangers, particularly men
  • Do not let anyone get too friendly
  • Be aware of the surroundings, nothing happens all of a sudden
  • Have complete information of the destination you are travelling
  • Do not share food/cigarettes with any stranger during the journey
  • Be aware of your luggage and do not stack all the money in a single place
  • Try not to be alone in a bus/jeep/train
  • Travel in public transport or in a recognized transport facility
  • Avoid unscheduled night travel unless necessary
  • Take upper berths or women compartment if you are travelling in a train
  • Choose a reputed/recognized/authorized travel agency/tour guide, get references
  • Inform friends and family where you are travelling
  • Carry your ID card and emergency contact details
  • Carry a whistle either around your neck or clip it where you can access it easily
  • Have your phone at quick access with emergency/police control room numbers on speed dial
  • Objective is travelling so dress for travel, watch what you are wearing, don’t invite unwanted attention
  • Wear skin tights or a swim suite underneath your dress
  • Do not wear tight or revealing attire stick to full sleeve t-shirt, slightly loose jeans or khakis or salwar suit
  • Travel light, ensure you have your backpack/trolley bag packed properly
  • Do not wear expensive jewelry or display valuables like laptop/expensive phone/GPS/camera/cash etc
  • Carry a pepper spray if possible
We need to sometimes empower ourselves and be confident, be aware and be prepared, let’s be practical there cannot be a police constable standing guard on every road every locality at all times. Government, Police, Society are responsible to provide a safe environment for every citizen irrespective of gender, but we cannot outsource our dreams and destiny either.

So go travel the world do not wait for all the signals lights to go Green to embark on a journey!

- Kavitha Reddy, Director Basecamp Adventures

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Can CM Siddhu Revive Bangalore Lakes?

Agara Lake on the agenda of CM Siddharamaiah first city rounds was indeed a shot in the arm for the citizens who have been relentlessly campaigning to revive & save the Agara Lake for the last 6 months.

Earlier Mr Ugrappa Sr Congress Leader, a regular walker at Agara Lake have been supporting the citizens cause had initiated to meet the CM and submit a detailed memorandum. He also has requested the CM to consider a visit to Agara Lake and on 7th Sept 2013 CM visited Agara Lake and got firsthand information on the condition of the lake along with severely senior government officials, local MP and MLA.

Mr Kupendra Reddy Congress Leader thanked the CM for making time to visit the lake and minced no words in conveying the urgent need to revive the lake both from an environmental point of view and from a public health prospective. He pointed out that the sewage water & un-cleared floating garbage has lead to a huge increase in dengue cases in the locality. He also mentioned that the funds has to be allocated at the earliest to speed up the restoration work, and if LDA is not able to act immediately then either BBMP or BDA should be involved to ensure Agara Lake is revived and saved. He also spoke about almost vanishing Parangi Palya/Somasundra Palya/Haralur Lake due to ramped encroachment and stressed on the need to do a re-survey of the lake and clear encroachments.

Mr Satish Reddy MLA of Bommanahalli, who had not shown any interest about the lake over the last few years, did make a request to the CM to allocate funds to revive the lake. He spoke about how the lakes are inter-connected and that it also flows to TN where it is used for agriculture purpose.

Mr Ugrappa stressed upon the need to revive the lake as it is a very large water body of ecologically importance. He also requested the CM to explore the possibility of handing over the lake to BDA or BBMP as LDA seems to lack manpower and technical capability to revive the lake. He drew the attention of the CM on the health hazard due to sewage inlet into the lake.

Mr Ananth Kumar MP of Bangalore South spoke in support of the revival of both Agara Lake and Parangi Palya/Somasundra Palya/Haralur Lake. He appreciated that the CM re-starting the city tours and requested him to make it a regular as it will enabling him to get more direct inputs from the citizens and resolve their concerns effectively. He also promised Rs 25 lac from MPLAD funds for the development of Agara Lake and asked ALPMS team to meet him sometime next week.

Mr Dayananda Reddy MLC drew the attention of the CM on the questions he had raised in the Legislative Council about Agara Lake. He updated the CM that ALPMS which is a citizen initiative has been meeting up with officially across departments and have been driving the cause to save and revive the lake. He spoke about the need to save the lung space and to maintain the ecological balance. Most importantly he brought to the notice of the CM that government has been asking citizens to implement RWH in their home but should not forget that lakes are a great source not only to harvest water but also recharge underground water tables. He mentioned that contaminated water that is getting into the lake will also contaminate the ground water in the long run if it is not addressed immediately.

Chief Minister took note of the memorandum submitted by the members of ALPMS and promised that he will call a meeting of all the concerned departments (LDA, BDA, BBMP, Forest, KPCB, BWSSB etc) and will do the needful at the earliest. He also expressed displeasure on the inaction so far and took a dig at the previous BJP government for not implementing the various reports on encroachments and protection of lakes and environment. He agreed that there is a need to protect the environment and water bodies and will do everything in his capacity to revive the lake. He also directed BBMP Commissioner to do a re-survey of Parangi Palya/SomasundraPalya/Haralur Lake and identify the encroachments.

For the citizens who have been waiting for some action on the Agara Lake, it was indeed reassuring as they could bring it to the notice of no less than a CM of the state. Members of ALPMS who spoke stand committed to keep up the pressure and also contribute to take up some of the critical repair works, and their priority is to get the rain water into the lake.

- Kavitha Reddy

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Somasundara Palya - Haralukunte Lake

The city of Bangalore once known for its lake and greenery is shedding that tag much faster than the growth of the city itself. Real estate greed over the last 15 years has witnessed in the death of many lake across the city. The environmental activists have been fighting somewhat a losing battle given the rate and level of encroachment and disruption of these wonderful water bodies in the city.

Lakes in the localities closer to rural Bangalore were one of the primary sources of water for the residents. The lake had a natural flow and connected a series of lakes and stored an excellent quality of rain water each rainy season brought in.

Somasundara Palya- Haralukunte Lake which is few kilometers away from Agara Lake is one such lake that is close to extinction. The lake that was spread over close to 17 acres just a few years ago has already lost about 3 acres to encroachments. The two fold encroachment of the lake bed and the catchment area by Karnataka Compost Factory and the local real estate dealers is out in open for everyone to see.

The modus operandi is very simple, since the lake is devoid of any fencing, truck loads of debris from various construction sites gets dumped around the lake eating into the lake area, piles and piles of un-segregated waste of the Govt run composite unit adds to the deteriorating surroundings. As lake surroundings get filled by the debris JCB’s are rented out to even out the area clearly shrinking the lake itself.

BDA has done very little rather nothing other than putting up a board asking people not to encroach, which is indeed a lame attempt to stop the illegal encroachment without any genuine  effort/plan to revive or save the lake. Land grabbing or encroachments do not happen without political patronage, which eventually gets regularize using political pressures and support. It will not be wrong to say that Somasundara Palya-Haralukunte Lake which almost looks like a sewage pond is heading in that direction.

Info gathered by Bala
As per the report submitted by the committee constituted by the Honorable High Court, 30 meters buffer zones around the lake in form of tree parks to ensure the buildings are not close to the lake was to be the norm. Neither the key suggestions of the Justice N K Patil committee have been considered nor has the report been implemented in totality since Feb 2011. 

The local elected representatives have shown little or no interest in even making an attempt to revive and restore this lake. Providing lung space, preserving water bodies that recharge the ground water and working towards creating an environmental friendly neighborhood seems to be least of their concern. This kind of apathy and indifference raise many serious questions on the motive or functioning of the representatives.

The questions that will need some answers are:
  1. What action has been taken to stop encroachment and restrict buildings 30 meter from the lake?
  2. Why was there no pressure put on BDA to fence the complete lake surroundings?
  3. What action has been taken against the truck which dumps debris in broad day light?
  4. What is the master plan to revive the lake and remove all illegal encroachments?
Some of the concerned residents in the area have been working toward bringing in much needed attention and create awareness on the need to save the lung space. Concrete jungle that already around the lake needs this water body to be rejuvenated and brought back to life, as neighborhood are not just about home it is also about environment.

- Kavitha Reddy

Monday, August 19, 2013

HSR Layout - Ward 174

Last three years have seen the roads of HSR Layout turning from bad to worse; few patch works here and there before the Assembly elections is all that the elected representatives have done in contrary to the claims they have made. Recently BBMP swung into action and sanctioned funds for filling of the pot holes, patch up the worsened road stretches and laying of asphalt on selected roads, not sure on what basis the selection was made. 

A ride on a two wheeler across HSR Layout will tell a different story, exposing all the false claims made by the elected representatives on filling of the pot holes and patch work of the critical stretches, some roads like the 31st main and 24th main of sector 1 stand totally ignored. 

Shoddy work and selective repair work are in full display once you ride through the inner roads of the layout. Each of the cross and main roads have at least 3 major potholes and about 5-6 smaller potholes. What is even more surprising is that the road works are ignored all through the summers and are taken up only during the monsoon only when the roads get worst and unbearable. What stops the authorities from taking up the pre-monsoon repair work?  

Added to the bad roads are the clogged storm water drains, un-cleaned vacant sites, constructing workers defecating in empty site, un-swept roads, un-checked street light that don’t even switch of manually and the door-to-door garbage collection agents who dumps all the segregated waste into one pile.

During the citizen interaction recently the Corporator spoke about building a world class stadium, setting up a dedicated cycling track and making HSR Layout garbage free but if the basic problems are not address all the tall promises will have no relevance or takers. 

It’s time the elected representatives who rarely go around the layout take some time out from their busy schedules and inspect all the roads and ask the relevant departments to take corrective. 

It’s criminal to spend public money on shoddy work and elected representative should be transparent and bring out details on the money spent on this shoddy road work and penalize contractor for bad quality work. 

- Kavitha Reddy 

Also published in Jagran City Plus, HSR Layout 6th Sept 2013