Citizens wield their RTI power

As reported in Times Of India(online)

Armed with the Right to Information (RTI) Act, citizens are posing
peculiar questions to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation
(GHMC) at an average of 10 applications per day.

The questions range from appointments, service matters, building
penalisation scheme etc. It's not the city folk but people from
districts and even other states are demanding information.
Consider this. P Anand, a resident of Ashok Nagar in the city sought
information on last November's appointment of additional commissioner
(heritage) J Kedareshwari. This included whether she was posted in
GHMC through an open advertisement and why her appointment was done
in haste and the qualifications and eligibility for the post. He even
sought to know whether GHMC knew about allegations against her when
she was Director of Archaeology and Museums.

To this, the GHMC replied that she was posted to municipal
administration by the state government and it is utilising her
services as they are needed for the city. They were not aware of any
allegations against her, they added.

Anil Sarma of Trimulgherry wanted to know whether his developer had
applied for regularisation of an unauthorised construction in a
building on Road No 13 of Banjara Hills. The GHMC replied that no
such application was filed.

Surprisingly, a few months ago the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation
sought information under the RTI Act for records pertaining to the
area. Aurangabad was part of the Nizam state before independence. As
there were no records available with the corporation, the GHMC
referred the question to the state central library. Not only
individuals, but associations too are on a questioning spree. Ashoka
Lake View Residency-Owners' Welfare Association in Kundanbagh
questioned how unauthorised construction on the 8th floor of the
complex was assessed for payment of property tax. It also sought
ownership documents and title deeds of the property. Well, it's
activists too who are in the forefront.

Mantri Shyam Prasad, Secretary of AP Human Rights Council,
Visakhapatnam has sent a list of 50 questions on various issues
including the city development plan, leased lands, burial grounds and
how many religious bodies in the city were allotted land in the city.

An attender, who was working in the Mayor's peshi in 1987, was
suspended on various allegations. He applied under the RTI Act
seeking his service book details. But the corporation officials
refused to give details under the RTI Act as they are more than 20-

That's citizens' power at work.

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