Friday, December 30, 2005

BCC officials pushed hard to give information under RTI Act

BCC officials pushed hard to give information under RTI Act
Those seeking information under RTI Act can either fill up the prescribed form or in a white sheet with details on what information is sought along with their address by paying a fee of Rs 10
Vijay Times

IF there is violation of bye-laws in your building, it is Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) alone that may not be keeping a watch. Y our neighbour could well also be interested if you have committed any violation.

This has been the case ever since BCC started accepting applications filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. BCC has received 150 applications in the last two months with a majority seeking information on sanction of building plans.

A senior BCC official told BVT that interestingly some applicants wanted to know building sanction details of their neighbours and how much areas was allowed for construction.

Following the introduction of RTI Act, citizens are making a beeline to BCC offices in order to seek information also on the works executed by the civic body pertaining to road repairs, asphalting, storm water drain, garbage disposal and various social welfare schemes, list of beneficiaries, trade license of shops etc.

However , most of the applicants are unhappy with the kind of information disclosed by the officials concerned. The public are upset over the apathy of the officials in giving the right information despite the RTI Act in place.

The BCC has designated around 150 officials as public information officers (PIOs) and assistant public information officers (APIOs) to provide the required information to the public.

The PIOs are bound to provide the information within 30 days from the date of receipt of the application while the APIO’s can take additional five days, the official said.

According to the Act, it is mandatory for the officials concerned to reply why information was not made available and if possible where the information was available.

A majority of the requests that are pending stand testimony to the non-cooperation by officials in providing the right information. Once the applications reach the 30day deadline, the officials blindly issue an endorsement stating that the required information was not available with the BCC, an applicant said.

For instance, the assistant council secretary in the BCC has refused to divulge information sought by Amaresh, a resident of Malleswaram, as to whether the wax replica of former mayor R Narayanaswamy could allowed to be unveiled in the premises of BCC Council Hall. Later , the official appeared before the Karnataka Information Commission and pleaded guilty .


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