Were the demolitions in Bengaluru carried out in haste?

It seems to be so, as the civic agency has no information on its demolition drive in August, including details on the preparations and measures before and after the demolition. With no information on even the rehabilitation measures provided despite an RTI application under the life and liberty clause, the state information commission has cracked the whip against the BBMP brass. The state information commission has not only made chief engineer (storm water drains) a PIO in the case, but has also directed the special commissioner (projects) to issue directive to the chief engineer to appear before the commission and provide information.

The decision came after activist and advocate, S Umapati had sought information pertaining to list of all the properties which BBMP had surveyed for demolition, BBMP commissioner’s order to demolish properties, rules and regulation under which survey was undertaken, survey details, rehabilitation plans and measures taken by BBMP to rehabilitate the affected residents. “There is a life and liberty clause in the RTI act. We had sought information under this provision. As the demolition was carried all of a sudden, we wanted to know the status of these people as they had been brought to the streets. But BBMP didn’t provide the information. They provided a booklet on the properties which had been identified.

“Further, on rehabilitation, BBMP officials claimed that the issue didn’t arise claiming that the demolition was to an extent of only 10 per cent, a fact contrary to that on ground which we had surveyed. However, it was clear that they have no information on the survey – as it was carried without surveying properties, and on rehabilitation part. Till date they don’t have one,” S Umapati, advocate and petitioner in the case told media. With the urgency and severity involved in the case, the commission had taken the case immediately in September and had ordered chief engineer, SWD, to provide all the information and also submit the same before the commission. But it was not submitted. Even a directive to special commissioner to direct the chief engineer to provide information didn’t pay any result. When the case was heard on October 10, neither information was provided nor the officer turned up for hearing.

Taking a serious note of the same, and calling it an ignorant act, the commission appointed the chief engineer himself as PIO, instead of an officer of a lower rung. Further, the commission also issued a show cause notice on why a penalty of Rs 25 000 should be levied for the lapse. He was asked to provide information and be present in person with documents before the commission in the next hearing in November. The special commissioner BM Vijay Kumar had also been directed to act, ie to direct the chief engineer to provide information. But nothing came forth. Now a directive has been issued again to provide information warning of a serious action, a disciplinary enquiry, which happens when the commission’s directives are not adhered to repeatedly.

“The issue was of public importance and hence an immediate directive had been issued to provide information. But it seems they don’t have information as they haven’t submitted any documents even on the rehabilitation. It seems they had no rehabilitation measures in place. A directive has been issued and non-adherence will be met with action under RTI act,” L Krishna Murthy, state information commissioner told Bangalore Mirror.

Credits Bangalore Mirror

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *