If political parties can be brought under RTI, why not power distribution companies?
A number of residents, part of a public hearing on power tariff, on Tuesday called for the inclusion of distribution companies under the ambit of the Right to Information law. The clamour comes after the Central Information Commission held that political parties were answerable under the RTI.The second day of a public hearing saw a number of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) raising the issue with the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).
According to Rajiv Kakaria, member of the Greater Kailash I RWA, the decision to include political parties under RTI was based on a number of parameters -- allotment of prime land at concessional rates, income tax exemptions, free air time given by public broadcasters and electoral rolls given by the Election Commission.
“Similarly, discoms are provided land at concessional rates and are operating from public properties. Discoms are performing a public duty by providing electricity. They get protection under the law when it comes to compensation in case of accidents. So why should they remain out of RTI’s ambit? This move will only increase transparency,” Kakaria said.
A number of residents who participated in the hearing criticised the DERC for issuing a statutory advice to the Delhi government recommending a bailout package for discoms.
“The commission had unilaterally sent out statutory advice recommending a bailout package of approximately R19,505 crore to discoms, under Section 86(2) of the Central Electricity Act, 2003, without placing the same before the state advisory committee as mandated under Section 87 and 88 of the Act,” said Anil Sood, president of NGO Chetna and member state advisory committee of DERC.
Some RWA members later alleged that DERC staff misbehaved with them while they were trying to enter the venue.