Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Have a problem? Film it!

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 2, 2006

Have a problem? Film it!
Abhijit Atre
[ Saturday, July 01, 2006 12:46:21 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]


PUNE: One frustrating aspect of citizen activism is having to repeat unresolved civic problems again and again while discussing them with civic officers.

Now, however, there’s a breakthrough. Citizen-activists can videotape their meetings with civic officers and use the same to remind them of the discussions held and the assurances that were made therein.

In a reply to Vihar Durve, Right to Information (RTI) Act activist, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has admitted that the municipal commissioner has the power to allow citizens to videotape their discussions with the officers.

“Such permission may be granted if an application is made to the commissioner, giving details as to why the video shooting is essential and the schedule of the shooting,”Arun Patil, chief information officer, PMC, has said in the reply to Durve.

For the past one year, Durve has been demanding that the PMC should grant such permission, but the administration had distanced itself on the issue.

Finally, Durve filed an application under the RTI Act, 2005, seeking to know who grants permission for video shooting of the civic general body (GB) meetings and why similar permission cannot be granted for citizens’ meetings with the civic officers.

Durve told TOI that the point argued by him was that the media persons were allowed to attend GB meetings and even videoshoot the proceedings of the GB — the highest body of the PMC which takes policy decisions on all civic issues — then why should there be a ban on recording discussions in smaller departments.

Elaborating on how the move would benefit citizens, Durve said often officers tend to forget or pretend to forget the assurances given by them on civic issues.

Also, when an officer is transferred, one has to explain the problem to the new officer all over again. Videoshooting of meetings will ensure accountability on part of officers, he said.

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