Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Chennaiites go RTI way to solve civic issues

News Today: Chennai: Wednesday, February 01, 2017.
Senthil Nagar Youth and Residents Welfare Association in Villivakkam, Chennai, is on a mission. Public welfare is the focus of its office-bearers. The association president G Abyverghese thinks one of the ways to do is by using the RTI Act.
He told 'News Today',that he kept his association moving since its inception and how using RTI brought development of his area.
Senthil Nagar is an area in Kolathur in Chennai where either serving of retired employees of ICF, Railways and other reputed private companies live. Soon after this area was formed, things were not that smooth here. The main problem was water stagnation.
"Every rainy season, the locality would suffer massive floods and water would be stagnant for months, posing a number of hurdles for residents.
"Being a low-lying area, water would remain stagnant for about three months after the rains. Senthil Nagar was once what SIDCO Nagar in Villivakkam is right now," he said.
So efforts to solve the problems began. "The approach is very simple, first, they would write letters to all officials concerned from the lowest to the highest level, which would then be followed by filing RTI applications on the status of their complaints, in case the grievances were not resolved.
"Initially we began writing letters to authorities explaining our problems. When the response did not arrive, they would go about filing an RTI application.
"With regard to the installation of LED streetlights. I filed an RTI application in November last year seeking information about how many were sanctioned for Zone 6 of Chennai Corporation of which our locality is a part of.
"Soon after that streets and main roads in the area were fitted with LED lamps. I can say with pride that our area is the only location in Kolathur where even interior streets have LED lamps.
Another example is operation of mini-buses. "We filed an RTI application to know about the small buses sanctioned for Chennai and did a follow- up. The result is that we have three services, namely S-43, S-44 that connects our locality to Perambur, Pudur and Korattur. We also came to know the S-43 is the mini bus route in Chennai with highest collection through an RTI filing.
"That is not all, the 16 streets and three main roads in Senthil Nagar have good blue-metal topped roads. Also, the credit for a functional ration shop should go to the RTI method," Abyverghese added.
"So far I have filed 4,855 RTI, emerged successful in 4000. I receive praise from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is said to be one of those instrumental in RTI Act coming into being."
He signed off by urging judicious use of RTI keeping the people's requirements in mind.