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Make civic work transparent, RTI activists to tell Devendra Fadnavis

Praja Foundation has also decided to take the civic body to court after it declared the NGO as persona non grata in November.

mumbai Updated: Jan 20, 2018 00:36 IST
Shailesh Gaikwad
Shailesh Gaikwad
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,devendra fadnavis,BMC
Activist Shailesh Gandhi and NGOs such as Praja Foundation prepare to send a petition to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding transparency in the civic work.(HT File)

The spat between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and RTI (Right to Information) activists continues, as activist Shailesh Gandhi and NGOs such as Praja Foundation prepare to send a petition to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding transparency in the civic work.

Gandhi, the former Central Information Commissioner (CIC), Sucheta Dalal of Moneylife Foundation and activist Julio Ribeiro of Public Concern for Governance Trust have sought that the state enforce publishing of RTI responses on the civic body’s website.

Praja Foundation has also decided to take the civic body to court after it declared the NGO as persona non grata (i.e. unwelcome or unacceptable because of something said or done) in November.

The NGO faced the BMC’s ire after it published a health report on tuberculosis (TB) and dengue cases in July.

“According to recommendations under the RTI Act, 2005, the BMC should make the RTI responses public. This will in fact reduce the number of nexus between RTI users and BMC officials, as alleged by BMC chief Ajoy Mehta. We hope to spur public meetings across the city as the BMC has threatened our democratic right by refusing to share information,” Gandhi told reporters on Friday.

Following the Kamala Mills fire, Mehta and Gandhi were caught in a public war of words. Gandhi, in an open letter on January 11, asked Mehta to apologise for accusing RTI users of “extortion and blackmail.” Mehta responded that a fair enquiry “to unravel and break the nexus between professional complainants with vested interest” is underway which would expose “a very small percentage of employees who connive with them”.

Referring to Mehta’s response, Dalal said, “The BMC must name the RTI users who are at fault instead of tarnishing all activists with such allegations.”

Tambakar Shenoy, an activist based in Mazgaon, said he filed a PIL in high court on Friday demanding that the circulars and slanderous statements against RTI activists be withdrawn.

First Published: Jan 20, 2018 00:36 IST