Heard that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has been spending thousands of crores of rupees on ‘development’ projects? And awarding contracts to various private consultants? But, who are they? Bangalore based Anti Corruption Forum (ACF – a group of social activists who have good experience and knowledge of the RTI Act and many other legislations) decided to find out.
According to information ACF has obtained, a total of 97 consultants throughout India have been appointed for the ‘development’ work out of which 18 are from Bangalore. The ACF filed an RTI application with the BBMP in December 2009, requesting details on the authenticity of the 18 Bangalore based contractors. The Labour Department has responded only about 8 of the consultants so far. This has revealed that only 3 consultants have registered with the Labour Department, 3 are unavailable at the address mentioned and 2 are unregistered. Strangely, the same Vijayanagar based company has been short listed for providing Rain Water Harvesting, Solid Waste Management, Environment Management and Basic Services to Urban Poor. ACF plans to investigate how the BBMP has chosen such bogus companies.
Some of us may be aware that the Government of India has mandated that every organization must notify the local Employment Exchange of employment vacancies and/or their fulfillment in adherence with the Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959 failing which the violator can be fined up to Rs. 500.
Motivated by its earlier successes in exercising its Right to Information, the ACF submitted another RTI application in January 2010, in public interest, pertaining to the above rule. This time, it sought information regarding 8 advertisements for job openings in a leading Kannada daily that had specified only the P.O. Box number and email id. As per the response received, only one organization’s details were provided while two were declared as individuals in which case the rule is not applicable. Of the remaining, the addresses of two organizations are not available and complaints have been registered against the other three (including two educational institutions) for not complying with the law.
ACF is a part of a coalition of various Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) in Bangalore like SICHREM, URC, CFAR, OpenSpace, Mahiti Hakku Adhyayana Kendra (MHAK) et al, which have been organizing RTI Clinics for the last nine months. These free entry sessions are held on the last Saturday of every month in Cubbon Park (opposite the Bangalore Press Club entrance), between 2.00 PM and 4.00 PM. Until now, more than 300 people have approached the CSO’s through the clinics that they have organized and they plan to continue reaching out to more citizens.
One can contact the following persons regarding training and information about RTI.
R. Manohar (SICHREM): 95350-37596
Anand S. (ACF): 92410-12730
K. Sudha (CFAR): 94820-50981
Vikram Simha (MHAK): 98860-20774