From 2008, readers used to ask us what was happening on the land north of Agara lake, adjacent to Koramangala, where debris and mud was getting dumped and the ground level was getting raised. Citizens were worried that the Bellandur wetlands were getting encroached. Supriya Khandekar, our then reporter checked and found it was private land.
It was 2012, a citizen noticed and blogged about a small reference to a MoM of the meeting document on a government website, that helped connect the parcel of land to a proposed SEZ. Then our reporter Navya P K dug in, on the basis of RTI documents obtained by residents, spent over a month and came up with many shocking facts of how a huge SEZ cum commercial/residential complex was planned and approved years ago. The project would require almost as much water as the entire Koramangala ward, and was found to have a plethora of environmental violations, with serious impact on the neighbourhood’s water and traffic situation. Yet, there was no public consultation. Even the city traffic police had had no say.
Residents in South East Bangalore, who read Citizen Matters reportage, got outraged at the willful ignorance of a disaster-in-the-making. They have now banded together to oppose the project.
What’s more, Navya won the All India Environmental Journalism Competition award for the first story of the 3-part series that was published in Citizen Matters.