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  1. As the first round of admissions for junior colleges opened up two days ago, sending students into a flurry to bag seats of choice for themselves, a parent association has written to the deputy director of education (Pune) to bring uniformity in the fee structure for all the colleges. The association, which calls itself System Correction Movement, backed their demand following a Right to Information (RTI) report, which revealed that the state education department had fixed the fees for classes XI and XII 40 years ago. While the fee has not been revised over the last four decades, colleges have been imposing hikes at their own will, which has led to a disparity in the fees of various institutes. The RTI has also revealed that in the last 40 years, no college has approached the state education department to revise the fees and bring uniformity, either. The association has underscored the subsequent unfair disparity in fees among the colleges. Meenakshi Raut, deputy director, education, Pune, said, “We have received the letter from the parent association. It is true that the fee has not been revised in 40 years. We will hold a meeting where the fees of FYJC will be decided.”
  2. An RTI query on the matter by a parent body has forced the babus to swing into action; a uniform fee structure is on the anvil As the first round of admissions for junior colleges opened up two days ago, sending students into a flurry to bag seats of choice for themselves, a parent association has written to the deputy director of education (Pune) to bring uniformity in the fee structure for all the colleges. The association, which calls itself System Correction Movement, backed their demand following a Right to Information (RTI) report, which revealed that the state education department had fixed the fees for classes XI and XII 40 years ago. While the fee has not been revised over the last four decades, colleges have been imposing hikes at their own will, which has led to a disparity in the fees of various institutes. The RTI has also revealed that in the last 40 years, no college has approached the state education department to revise the fees and bring uniformity, either. The association has underscored the subsequent unfair disparity in fees among the colleges. Meenakshi Raut, deputy director, education, Pune, said, “We have received the letter from the parent association. It is true that the fee has not been revised in 40 years. We will hold a meeting where the fees of FYJC will be decided.” View full entry
  3. I am by any possible definition typical citizen . However driving everyday to office & home I was worried by road in my neighborhood which was cause of increasing accidents due to pending construction of speed breakers for over 2 years!!! yes 2 years... . I thought let me at least try filing an RTI ..and posted a query here. http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/67325-framing-rti-rti-speed-breakers-road.html I got some really valuable inputs from both users of RTI forum / karira and Prashantvikey . They provided a key HC ruling which mandates rules & guidelines for speed breakers on road. The municipals perhaps are not even aware of such a HC judgment before they construct roads in cities. But still thanks a lot to both of you for guiding on how to frame RTI. In just one week of filing the RTI to PMC (Pune muncipal corporation ) i got to see change. THE REAL CHANGE literally on ground!! The speed breakers and pedestrians crossing being created now. The reply I got within 2 weeks only says action being taken and does not say what it was pending for so long. But it is quite amazing to see things being changed in 2weeks what was languishing for 2 years !! (No exaggeration here , the road changes were made 2 yrs ago and now they put speed breakers ) . Nevertheless i am happy to see my neighborhood specially kids going to school being little bit more safer than earlier . Its really a positive change to see things moving and will try to get more actively involved in coming days.
  4. Atul Patankar

    Revealed: SIC is sick

    As reported by Tanaji Khot at punemirror.in on December 14, 2009 The Right to Information (RTI) Act is considered a powerful tool for transparency in the working of the bureacracy. And many a times, it has proved its usefulness. However, the number of people whose applications for information have been rejected or those who have been supplied wrong information is also staggering. Since the inception of the RTI Act in 2005, the government has deployed a state-wide mechanism to resolve issues with the help of the Act. If any officer denies or provides wrong information to the applicant, there are certain provisions to take the grievances to a higher authority. If the first appeal, done to the respective government body, is rejected, the applicant can file a second appeal with the State Information Commission (SIC). The SIC’s Pune Bench covers the Pune region including the districts of Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur. The Bench started its work in February 2007. According to the information obtained by RTI activist Sachin Godambe from the SIC, the Pune Bench has received 8,000 applications in the last three years. Out of these, 4,000 appeals have been resolved and half of them are still pending. Interestingly, the Pune Bench has slapped only 25 errant government officers with a fine of Rs 25,000 each in the last three years. The story of Godambe’s hunt for information starts when he had filed an RTI application with the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) about the Bhosari flyover. This application was rejected by the PCMC officials. After that, Godambe approached the SIC to take action against the officials who had rejected his earlier application. According to Godambe, he did not get a satisfactory response to his application with the SIC. When the SIC did not provide him with the information he wanted, Godambe filed an application seeking information on the number of RTI appeals with the Pune Bench. He aslo sought number of cases solved and those that were still pending. According to the information provided by SIC public information officer Y H Deshpande, the Pune Bench had received 7,425 appeals at the end of August 2009. The Bench has 3,908 appeals pending with it. Godambe said, “The data clearly shows that a lot of people are keen to know more about the way their government functions. However, the bureacracy is denying this information for whatever reasons. The SIC should work actively and create a position of reverence and fear with the bureacracy. However, as the data shows, this is not the reality.” In the last three years, the state information commission, Pune Bench, has slapped a Rs 25,000 fine each on 25 officers who have violated the provisions of the Act. Godambe had also demanded the number of employees working for the Pune Bench and their pay scales. Replying to his query, the SIC revealed that there are 16 employees working with the Pune Bench apart from the state information commissioner. The staff at Pune Bench gets Rs 5 lakh collective remuneration per month. Godambe said, “The government is spending a huge amount on this mechanism. But the mechanism has failed to provide justice to the common man. People are eager for transparency but the SIC is not bothered to keep tabs on the bureaucracy. Many people get frustrated in their attempts for information even before reaching the SIC.” Source: Revealed: SIC is sick, News - City - Pune Mirror,Pune Mirror
  5. Atul Patankar

    Two wrongs finally made right

    As reported by Vishakha Sharma at punemirror.in on November 11, 2009 After receiving an expired LPG gas cylinder and complaining about the same to Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) on their website, Ranjit S Jadhavrao’s expired gas cylinder was replaced immediately. But the same thing was repeated the very next month when he received an expired LPG cylinder again. Disgusted with this fact, Jadhavrao decided to file an RTI application with the HPCL Regional Sales Office at Pune Camp to dig out the truth behind the secret numbers encoded on our domestic use LPG cylinders. Jadhavrao, who is a resident of Sinhagad Road said, “In May 2009, I was delivered a domestic use LPG cylinder with the ‘C-08’ painted on one of its three ‘stay plates’ that hold the upper ring. I remembered an article regarding expiry of LPG cylinders published around that time. I lodged a complaint on the HPCL website stating that an expired cylinder has been delivered to me. That same evening, my LPG distributor replaced my faulty cylinder after he received a call from the company.” “But, after a gap of one month, the same thing happened again. When I spoke with the LPG distributor, his representative blatantly told me that they receive hundreds of cylinders every day and they don’t find time to scrutinise the cylinders they receive. This is in direct violation of their dealership contracts with the oil marketing companies. He seemed least bothered about the flaw and total ignorance on their part,” he continued. Jadhavrao said, “I decided to lodge a complaint with the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of HPCL at Mumbai. This was done through the HPCL website in August third week as their website works extremely efficiently. Next day in the afternoon, I was contacted by D T Patil, area sales manager-LPG, HPCL. He suggested that we meet. He explained the practical problems HPCL faces at its Chakan facility and I simply voiced my concerns to him.” “Later to find out about the numbers encoded on the LPG cylinders, I submitted an RTI query to HPCL Regional Sales Office at Pune Camp. The senior regional manager & central Public Information Officer (CPIO) was very helpful in providing information I required,” he added. “One should check all the LPG delivered for testing date marking. You have the right to reject an expired cylinder delivered to your house. Demand a new valid cylinder and get in touch with Customer Care Manager of the concerned LPG provider company, if denied. You can easily find the contact details from the respective websites of those oil marketing companies. After HPCL, I sent RTI queries to BPCL and IOCL too and found out similar information,” said Jadhavrao. When Pune Mirror spoke to D T Patil, he said, “Mixing of expired cylinders with the non-expired ones is a human error which happens very rarely and if it does, we immediately get the expred cylinder replaced with the new one but the customer should bring it to our notice.” “Earlier cylinders used to expire within 5 years but now the new cylinders lapse only after 10 years after which they are removed from the circulation and sent for hydro testing. After hydro testing, cylinders can be used again for circulation,” he added. When we asked him about the drawbacks, he said, “Till now there has not been a single case of any accident because of the expired cylinders.” The findings of his RTI query are: The marking ‘C-08’ or ‘B-12’ on a LPG cylinder indicates the Quarter and Year when the cylinder shall be due for its statutory testing, which is a very critical test considering the safety of LPG consumers at large. A Year is divided into 4 quarters and is identified as under: A – denotes January to March B – denotes April to June C – denotes July to September D – denotes October to December [*]Consumers can book their next refill after receipt of home delivery of their earlier booked cylinder and do not have to wait for next 21 days. Consumers are entitled to get their refill within 3 working days from booking date. However a consumer should be in a position to provide the empty cylinder with the same serial number of the cylinder received as refill delivery earlier. [*]Local LPG distributors have a definite responsibility regarding pre-delivery safety checks at the customer’s premises. The company through its training programmes imparts special training. Source: Two wrongs finally made right , News - City - Pune Mirror,Pune Mirror
  6. As reported by Tarun Nangia at www.indianexpress.com on Jun 30, 2009 Pune : When advocate Netraprakash Bhog approached the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) for certified copies of information regarding a property on Prince of Wales Drive in Wanavdi, under the Right to Information Act (RTI), he was taken by surprise when he was asked to pay Rs 200 for a page. Under the provisions of the RTI Regulation of Fee and Cost Rules, 2005, the accounts officer can charge Rs two for each page created, copied or as per actuals. “On March 27, 2009, I filed an RTI application with the PCB and requested them to provide certified copies of information regarding property number 4 located at Prince of Wales drive in Wanavdi. I also requested them to provide me the information within the time limit specified under the RTI. But I was surprised when I received a letter (a copy of which is with the Indian Express) from K V Shirodkar, central public information officer, PCB, on April 6 mentioning that I would have to pay Rs 200 per copy towards copying fees charges,” said Bhog. However, Shirodkar feigned ignorance when asked about the exorbitant amount the PCB charges per copy. “A few years ago, a resolution was passed in the PCB according to which we charge Rs 200 per copy of general application. When certified copies are asked under the RTI Act, we charge the applicants only the cost as laid down in the RTI or the cost of photo copying. We definitely do not charge Rs 200 per copy if the information is demanded under the RTI,” he said. According to Bhog, the PCB had passed a resolution some years ago, by virtue of which, they are charging Rs 200 per page from applicants demanding information. This is totally unjust as the cantonment is subject to the provisions of the RTI Act, which mandates Rs 2 per page or at actual be charged by a public body. Charging this much money amounts to loot. “In all government offices, the information demanded of any sort, permissible under law, have to be made available to the public in a reasonable manner and at a reasonable cost. The PCB cannot treat the public in a shabby manner as they are a public body and those working there are public servants,” said Bhog Meanwhile, social activists are of the view that this is a way to deter people from demanding information under the RTI Act. Delhi-based noted civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan said,”The PCB is acting contrary to the laws laid down in the RTI Act. Those who were asked by the PCB to pay Rs 200 per page for information demanded under RTI can approach the state information commissioner or the chief information commissioner for redressal. The amount demanded by the PCB is not only against the rule, but would also deter people from seeking information under the RTI Act.” Source: Lawyer seeks info under RTI, PCB says pay Rs 200 per copy
  7. As reported by Asseem Shaikh at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 28 Jun 2009 PUNE: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has pulled up the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) for deputing a retired employee to attend the hearing of a second appeal instead of a serving employee. The CIC also expressed its annoyance with PCB chief executive officer and the first appellate authority S K Sardana for not giving their comments on an appeal filed by Ranjeet Solanki, a resident of Bhavani Peth, opposite Poona college. In its order delivered on June 16, Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra described the attitude of PCB officials as "casual" in dealing with matters under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The appellant Solanki had requested the central public information officer (CPIO), D D Modak, to provide information about the service record of his father Ashok Solanki. He had also sought details about the payments made to the legal heirs after his father's death in an application dated October 26, 2006. After the PCB transferred Solanki's application to the CPIO of the accounts department, the appellant received a reply from the CPIO stating that on verification, no office record existed in his father's name. Solanki, who was dissatisfied by the reply, had preferred a first appeal before the chief executive officer and the first appellate authority. The first appellate authority, in its order delivered on January 16, 2007, had held that as per the index register maintained by the board, no file existed in Ashok Solanki's name. The appellate authority further directed the CPIO to conduct a thorough search of the records and provide information to the appellant within 15 days. Solanki preferred a second appeal before the CIC after he received a reply from the CPIO stating that even after a second search no information sought by the appellant was available. When the appeal came up for hearing before the commission in New Delhi, which was held via video conferencing from the National Informatics Centre here, Solanki brought to the notice of the commission that the first appellate authority had not given its comments on the appeal even after the CIC making a communication on October 6, 2008. Information Commissioner Mishra in his order stated "It is deplorable that the PCB had failed to send its comments on the appeal even after 10 months of being asked to do so. This shows their utter lack of seriousness in matters related to right to information". Mishra observed that "It is also very strange that the public authority deputed a retired employee to appear in the case instead of the current CPIO. Even if the CIC notice had been issued in the name of Smt D D Modak, CPIO and chief accountant, it was not desirable that the public authority should have summoned a retired employee to appear. It was the duty of the current CPIO to appear for the hearing". Modak submitted that she had replied to the appellant after the concerned section of the board had informed her that Sonlanki's service record could not be traced, but she admitted the fact that she had once met him when he was alive. "In any public authority, information about a former employee can be found by looking at several records like acquaintance roll, leave registers, seniority lists etc. Even if this particular person had passed away, the authorities concerned could have tried to find out about him from one or the other relevant records or documents only if they had tried hard and should not have casually dismissed the request by stating that no record in this name existed," Mishra's order stated. Mishra directed the CPIO to once again search the records and files for finding out if there is any reference of the appellant's father. The order states that if any record is traced then the appellant should be provided with the information along with the copies within 15 days. The CIC has further sought an explanation from the CPIO for deputing a retired employee and failing to remain present at the time of hearing. Source: PCB pulled up for being casual with giving info under RTI - Pune - Cities - The Times of India
  8. Thanks to Mr. Anonymous for posting a link to RTI India about builders' MSEB charges on Ravi Karandeekar's Pune Real Estate Market News Blog and introducing this forum to Pune property buyers. I am sure by joining this forum my readers will understand their rights better. Thanks!
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