National Convention At Pune
NATIONAL CONVENTION AT PUNE : <o></o><o></o>
Pune, May 12:
SOCIAL activist Medha Patkar on Saturday called upon citizens to harness the potential of the RTI Act by procuring information on the Special Economic Zones (SEZs). “RTI is not only a tool for strengthening democracy but also as a weapon in the hands of commoners to expose scams of so-called development,” she said. Patkar was speaking at a meet on the Right to Information (RTI) Act at Firodia Hostel organised by city-based Surajya Sangharsha Samiti. The meet was attended by 200 activists from across the country. office"
Remembering the early days of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Patkar said that dam officials often harassed villagers when they tried to seek information on the project. Sounding a note of caution for activists, she said, “The bureaucracy is trying to scuttle people’s right to access information. So there is a need to keep RTI alive and take it to the nook and corner of the country.”
Coming down heavily on the builders’ lobby in Mumbai, Patkar lambasted the state government for ignoring the interests of the commoners. “Over 75,000 shanties were demolished in Mumbai on the grounds that they were unauthorised. But what about the illicit land use pattern followed by the builder-politician nexus,” she asked.
Patkar said that efforts to seek details on the SRA were in vain. “We had asked for information from the SRA but it did not bother to send us a proper reply,” she said.
Censuring the top brass of the state police, Patkar said that most of them were occupants of illegal buildings that had no occupation certificates. “You won’t find Dalits and minorities in such plush but illegal buildings,” she said.
Earlier social activist Aruna Roy described the RTI act as a multifaceted and pluralistic campaign of democracy to fight against injustice. Roy urged RTI activists to file applications seeking information related to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA ) on an urgent basis.
Amongst others who spoke on the occasion included noted supreme court lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
Hazare threatens agitation if RTI Act is amended
Pune, May 13:Right to Information Act crusader and noted social activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday threatened to launch a nationwide stir if the government enacted amendment to the Right to Information (RTI ) Act. Censuring the move, Hazare stressed that the agitation will go down in the annals of the country’s history as the Second War of Independence. He was addressing mediapersons after the valedictory session of the two-day National convention for RTI crusaders at Firodiya Hall on Sunday evening.
Hazare further stressed the need to create awareness about RTI at all levels in the society with a view to empower common masses. Reiterating that the Centre was trying to bring a bill seeking amendment to the RTI Act, he said: “Introduction of the bill will amount to jeopardising the rights of people and will not be tolerated at any cost. The government cannot be allowed to escape from its responsibilities.”
Earlier in the day, noted social activist and Magsaysay awardee Aruna Roy said that oth the state and union government will have to obey the orders of the information commission which they have been deliberately neglecting all these months. “Law does not work on intent and the government will have to toe the line of information commission,” she said.
The national RTI meet saw a series of resolutions passed by the activists prominent among them are those seeking implementation of section 4 of the act which says that the government should take frequent audit of every public authority and that public authorities are bound to follow the rules framed by competent authorities and they should not prescribe their own rules. Besides resolutions included no fee for appeal, demand for making it mandatory for the first appellate authority to record independent findings and reasons and providing spoken orders while disposing the appeals, inclusion of RTI act in the school and college-level curriculum by all state governments and release of a special stamp for giving fee under RTI act to be made available at all post offices.
The two day meet included over 200 RTI activists from 23 states participating in the conference.
Re: National Convention At Pune
Medha did nothing but use this convention as a platform to project herself. Her speech was more of a political nature. Further she claimed that there were only 648 Bangladeshis in all Mumbai. Later when she was asked about the source, she tried to avoid the question. Mr. Veeresh Malik pressed upon her to reveal her source. She replied that she got this reply following an RTI Application. Veeresh pressed even further by asking for a copy etc., she backed out by saying Mr. Shailesh Gandhi had asked this question and given her a copy.
Originally Posted by hemasampat
Further clarification from Mr. Gandhi by email, as he was abroad, proved that the figure of 648 was only of those Bangladeshis who were detained and deported from Mumbai.
Besides, the NBA is not transparent. As an NGO registered under Societies Act, they have not made the disclosure under Section 4 of the RTI Act. When one talks about transparency, one should be transparent too.
So much for her long "Anti Tata-Birla - Gujarat" Speech.