Free Press Journal: Mumbai: Saturday, March 11, 2017.
A penalty of Rs 25,000 has been imposed on a civic official from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s L ward (Kurla) by Ratnakar Gaikwad, State Information Officer, for failing to reply to a Right to Information (RTI) inquiry.
Sandesh More, an activist from L ward, had filed an RTI for a detailed report on action taken against illegal constructions in 14 constituencies (Ward no. 150 – 164) in L ward.
Speaking to the Free Press Journal, More said, “I filed an RTI in March 2016 and asked for the entire details on inquiry done on illegal structures. There has been an increase in the unauthorised structures in areas like Kamani, LBS Marg and Kurla East. Officials are not bothered about the illegal structures in their area because of which they are afraid to reply to my RTI query.”
More added that he waited for 10 months before approaching the State Information Officer. He said, “I filed my first appeal in December after which a show-cause l notice was issued to the official. The civic officials from the building and factory department of L ward did not appear when summoned by the Information Officer and were then penalised for the same.”
According to the penalty report, the fine will be deducted from the salary of the civic officer in five instalments.
A part of the Mithi River, which is within the boundaries of L ward, has been encroached upon by slum-dwellers. Anuradha Pednekar, Shiv Sena Corporator from Kurla’s Nehru Nagar, had recently raised a point of order in the civic body’s standing committee regarding the rise in the number of unauthorised constructions.
Pednekar said, “The civic officials responsible for inquiring into unauthorised structures have turned a blind eye to the illegalities carried out by contractors. There are numerous illegal structures in the L ward that are functioning without a No Objection Certificate (NOC). Sadly, such cases are ignored by the civic body.”
Pednekar further alleged that the Assistant Municipal Commissioner of L ward, Ajitkumar Ambi, has allowed the contractors to carry out illegal constructions in the ward. Pednekar said, “The ward officer has failed to demolish any of the illegal structures. The contractors have illegally encroached upon open spaces and even the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) of Mithi River.”
A Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s civic official has been fined Rs 25,000 by Ratnakar Gaikwad, State Information Officer, for failing to reply to a Right to Information (RTI) petition.
Sandesh More had filed the query for a detailed report on action taken against illegal constructions in 14 constituencies in L ward.
More said he waited 10 months before he approached the State Information Officer.
The fine will be deducted from the salary of the civic officer in five instalments.