Outcry as BMC offices ban RTI activists’ entry

Furious electorate lift factor with deputy municipal commissioner.

A gaggle of RTI activists on Friday lodged a robust protest with deputy municipal commissioner Anand Wagralkar over repeated attempts to dam their access at ward offices, the place they lift questions of public importance.

Hemant Dalal, Ashwin Hirani, Sunil Tiwari and Mukesh Thakur are allegedly now not being allowed to visit the place of job of K West Ward in Andheri. Two more voices of transparency, Azad Khan and Sumaaq Mistry, claim they been going through similar restrictions at the place of job of H West Ward in Bandra for the previous yr.

The access bans are hampering the work of Mumbaikars who, through RTI queries, constantly remind the BMC that it is meant to serve the town’s pursuits, and now not builders’ or contractors’.

This is not the primary time the BMC has sought to create hurdles for them. In September, officers put the names and pictures of Dalal, Hirani, Tiwari and Thakur on a board out of doors K West Ward’s place of job, calling them “professional complainants” who had become a nuisance for the body of workers. The four had pursuing proceedings towards encroachments in Vile Parle. The board was once removed following a public outcry, Mirror had reported.

Prashant Gaikwad, assistant commissioner, K West, had previous said that the four activists avoided civic officers from wearing out their tasks by means of submitting multiple proceedings and RTI pleas and by means of elevating problems on social media. But he additionally said that they cannot be stopped from visiting the place of job.

Despite his clarification on their access, the activists are going through restrictions. Dalal said on November 28, security guards at K West Ward’s place of job stopped him coming into the premises, the place he was once meant to wait an RTI-related hearing. After a lengthy argument, he was once allowed within. But on December 4, he, in conjunction with Tiwari, was once once more barred. The guards advised them they were following Gaikwad’s directions.

Gaikwad was once unavailable for comment on Friday.

“We are legislation abiding electorate and our basic proper is being violated,” said Mistry, who had raised the issue of illegal structures in H West Ward. He said he had been going through a ban at the ward place of job since January 18.

The alleged bans stem from the feedback of BMC chief Ajoy Mehta final yr. After the Kamala Mills fire, he had reportedly described RTI activists as professional complainers who work with corrupt civic officers to extort money from companies.

Former Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Sanjay Gandhi criticised the way RTI activists were being handled. “BMC officials wish to learn that they're public servants and don't have any proper to disclaim electorate the right to information. This is assured under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Act and should be respected,” he said.

Gandhi added: “When electorate find that BMC officials are not doing their responsibility, they file proceedings. The BMC’s abysmal reaction activates them to submit multiple proceedings and RTI packages. This annoys civic officers, who're unable, and unwilling, to ship cheap provider or information.”

To cover up corruption and inefficiency, officers file police proceedings and prevent electorate from coming into municipal offices, Gandhi said. Khan had railed towards illegal eating places and hookah parlours that were allowed to re-open every week after the BMC’s crackdown. “I had complained towards 27 eating places and hookah bars. After my proceedings in February, I was denied access,” he said.

A gaggle of activists met deputy municipal commissioner Anand Wagralkar on Friday to resort a protest towards the bans

Outcry as BMC offices ban RTI activists’ entry Outcry as BMC offices ban RTI activists’ entry Reviewed by Kailash on December 08, 2018 Rating: 5
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