Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Official apathy haunts civic body’s RTI library

Times of India: Pune: Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
In 2010, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) became the first civic body in the country to start a RTI library to promote the Right to Information Act, 2005. It is in a sorry state today, courtesy official apathy.
"The library was a role model of sorts when it was opened. But its condition is deteriorating. Finding basic information about the civic administration has become tough at this facility," said Vijay Kumbhar, an RTI activist.
Kumbhar, who was one of the activists who supported construction of a RTI library, said that the reason for setting up the library was to provide easy access of public information to the citizens.
"Apart from providing computer-based information search facility, the library was to be equipped with CCTV cameras. But things have not moved in that direction yet," he pointed out.
Nilesh Nikam, a former standing committee chairman who had announced the project in the budget, said that the poor condition of the library was due to the apathy of the civic administration. "Many civic officials don't want the information to be disclosed to the public. It helps them to keep the library neglected. The ruling parties should make sure that such initiatives are strengthened," he said.
PMC officials, on other hand, said that it is doing its best to maintain the library and make it more user-friendly. On an average, 10 to 12 people visit the facility daily.
Sanjay More, PMC public relation officer, said, "The citizens have been using it and giving positive response. We are coordinating with various departments to update the data regularly," he said.
More said that mandatory information under the RTI is available at the library. If any citizen wants specific data; he/she can write in the suggestion book and it can be provided.