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By Atul Patankar
As reported at samaylive.com/news on 04 Sept 2009
New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Delhi government to put up information on the utilisation of the legislators' development funds on its website.
The decision came on a complaint filed by an NGO, Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS), which has demanded that information about development funds should be available in the public domain in compliance with the provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The CIC also issued a show cause notice to S.K.S Yadav, the public information officer (PIO) of Delhi's urban development department, asking why he should not be penalised under the RTI Act.
The NGO, which had prepared "report cards" on the performance of all legislators and how they had used their development funds prior to the Delhi assembly polls December 2008, had complained to the CIC that they faced a number of difficulties and delays in obtaining the information.
"The PIO, S.K.S Yadav, is guilty of not making any effort to meet the Section 4 requirements (of the RTI Act) even after reminders from the complainant. It also appears that all the information has been provided to him and yet he stubbornly refuses to ensure that this is displayed as per the requirements of Section 4 (of the RTI Act). This is a violation of the RTI Act," RTI activist turned Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said in his order Thursday.
Yadav was also directed to ensure that the information is put up on the website of the Delhi urban development department, which is the nodal agency for implementation of the Delhi Member of Legislative Assembly Local Area Development (MLALAD) Scheme, by Sep 15.
"Over Rs. 700 crore is allocated under the Delhi MLALAD Scheme over a five-year period, yet the government has not taken any steps to pro-actively inform people about the existence and utilisation of these funds. As a result, these funds are often spent on non-priority works while basic development needs of people remain largely unaddressed," Anjali Bhardwaj of SNS told IANS.
"Information accessed using the RTI Act shows that in many constituencies, funds have been allocated for constructing fountains while residents face acute water shortage," she said.
"We had just requested the CIC to direct the government that project-wise information about MLALAD Scheme should be put up on the government's website and on boards in each constituency in compliance with the RTI act," Bhardwaj added.
She said the CIC order will ensure that development funds are utilised in a "consultative, participatory and accountable manner."
"Having access to information on these funds will enable people to meaningfully engage with their legislators to ensure that funds are spent on their area's most pressing development needs," Bhardwaj said.
Source: Delhi to put details of legislators' development fund online :: Samay Live
By Atul Patankar
As reported at sify.com/news on 06 December 2009
This is hard to believe, but there is not a single legally authorised stand for the 55,000-odd auto rickshaws registered in the capital, says a suit filed by an NGO that is working to improve the lives of auto rickshaw drivers.
Admitting the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) suit filed by Rakesh Agarwal, secretary of the NGO NyayaBhoomi, the Delhi High Court has issued notices to the government's Transport Department and to the traffic police, asking them to reply by the next hearing scheduled Jan 13.
Through an application under the Right to Information Act, Agarwal had found from the Transport Department this October that there was not a single legally authorised stand for the vehicles used by thousands of commuters every day.
In 2004, the traffic police notified 314 auto rickshaw stands, but that did not work because the municipal authorities did not put up any sign boards so that commuters could use them.
Anyway, the addresses given for the stands were 'vague', Agarwal said. The notification said that the stands would be at Katwaria Sarai, Central Market of Lajpat Nagar, or the parking lot at Nehru Place, without specifying the exact spot. So that did not work.
Now, the police do operate stands at the railway stations and some busy markets, but they do not have any legal sanction.
'The police have no power to notify auto stands,' said Rajiv Garg, the lawyer who filed the PIL on behalf of Agarwal. The power to do that lies with the Delhi government.
Joint Commissioner of Delhi Traffic Police S.N. Srivastava declined to reply to this, saying his department had already filed an affidavit on this issue in the high court, and he could not say any more.
'I wonder why there is no stand for auto rickshaws, but so many for taxis and even some for tongas,' Garg said
Source: 'Not a single legal auto stand in national capital'