‘Expose such scams with RTI’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Expose such scams with RTI’

Shocked by violations in Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society, activists are demanding more transparency in the way the civic body’s building proposal department functions. Alleging a clear official-builder nexus, activists have proposed a string of guidelines, which they believe will help detect such scams quickly, rather than years after the building is passed, as in the case of Adarsh.

mumbai Updated: Nov 03, 2010 01:01 IST
Kunal Purohit

Shocked by violations in Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society, activists are demanding more transparency in the way the civic body’s building proposal department functions. Alleging a clear official-builder nexus, activists have proposed a string of guidelines, which they believe will help detect such scams quickly, rather than years after the building is passed, as in the case of Adarsh.

As part of this, all building proposal offices have been served with ‘notices’ under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 which talks about government offices declaring and exhibiting information voluntarily, without having to ask for it.

Utsal Karani from the NGO Janhit Manch said, “The key to detecting such scams is to have easy access to information about these buildings. But, because of the nexus between builders and officials of the building proposal department, no information is made available, making digging deep impossible.”

Hence, he added, under Section 4, they have demanded that every building proposal office have a list of buildings where commence certificates have been issued as well as where the occupation certificates haven’t been.

Karani said officials find ways to firewall queries about specific plots. “They ask us to furnish details like CTS numbers of these plots, which are not available even in the city survey office. They know getting these details is impossible, so they insist on them and then dismiss the application.” Activists have demanded that either the CTS number not be asked for, or if they are, then it be displayed on very plot prominently.

Another activist GR Vora, who has drafted the notices, said, “It’s very difficult for the common man to spot irregularities and expose them, especially because the buildings proposal department is so mysterious. We demand that it be demystified immediately.”

Activists have now given them a month’s time to start furnishing such details under RTI.