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Meeting To Form RTI Activist’s Union Against Builder Mafia & Land Sharks

9 April 2011 No Comment

 

RTI Activist Union Formation Meeting

Agenda and Location sent by Krishnaraj Rao, for Todays Meeting to form RTI Activists Union.

As you know, the land-encroachers’ and builders’ mafia are the biggest problem in our cities. We are in the process of forming a Union of RTI Activists, Lawyers, Architects etc. to get a grip on these through RTI.

Please note, the below is essentially a repeat of the 6th March Agenda, as most agenda points have not been fulfilled. I am adding only two points to this:

(1)  In the words of Activist Utsal Karani: “We have to force Building Proposals to direct builders to display CTS Nos as their filing system is based on it. I have a doubt whether SIC can do anything in this matter, though this can be pursued. All buildings ought to display CTS Nos. This is a larger issue which has to be addressed.”

 

(2)  Many ground-level changes are happening in the Building industry, such as this: http://tinyurl.com/CM-says-MMRDA-out-of-building . Mumbai’s new Municipal Commissioner Subodh Kumar is coming down hard on the undue advantages that builders took for the last 10-15 years. The game that builders play has been exposed, and measures are being taken to curb them. In this changing scenario, we must decide what is the strategy we must adopt.

AGENDA:

A.    How to immediately start the work. We can start scanning and uploading the large numbers of documents that already exist in with various RTI activists. We can also offer advisory services, drafting of RTI applications, complaints, representation letters etc. with immediate effect. We can also start actively lobbying for Section 4 implementation.

B.   Request for volunteers / activists to start work on honorary basis.

C.   Request for office premises & address for filing rti applications, receiving & filing information, scanning & uploading, and letter-baazi. (Those who had earlier offered their office premises for the Union’s work have declined.)

D.   Can we register a body on a provisional basis, to enable some progress and understanding before consolidation? Let us discuss.

E.   Request for support on project-by-project basis. We are asking those who are financially comfortable to take ownership of various aspects of this project on a direct-payment basis, without handing over any cash to us. For example:

  • Mr A can sponsor scanning of 1,000 documents @ Rs 2 per document, and make payment directly to shopkeeper.
  • Mr B can sponsor hall charges & chai-nashta for holding a meeting of 100 activists in Thane or Navi Mumbai in April.
  • Mr C can lend the services of his office peon for picking up documents from various points and delivering them to Union office.
  • Mr D can donate 200 Court-fee stamps @ Rs 10 for filing RTI applications by Union.

WHAT IS CLEARLY NOT ON THE AGENDA:

The name and organizational form of this Union will NOT be finalized now. It will be democratically decided by those who actually participate in the activities, in a meeting specially convened for the purpose three months later. In the meanwhile, we will not collect any membership fees, but we will enlist volunteers and activists to start doing the work. Those who work for the objectives of this organization will be elected as office-bearers 4-5 months later by secret ballot.

What was Decided at Previous Meetings:

1)    Membership fees will be Rs 100 only per annum.

2)    Cost of information to be borne by actual information seekers. Union will not bear any expenses. In this way, it will minimize handling money and avoid building up a corpus.

3)    Union will work only in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

4)    SERVICES OFFERED BY THIS ASSOCIATION:

a)     Pool of Experts. Various sorts of expertise and experience-sharing opportunities, including drafting various sorts of RTI applications, appeal formats, and inexpensive legal assistance will be offered by this Union to its individual members.

b)     Union will file RTI applications & complaints on behalf of individual applicant. It is legally sustainable, according to several CIC orders. See these orders sent by Sunil Ahya: http://tinyurl.com/CICorders3

Also read the accompanying discussion: http://tinyurl.com/UnionRTI

c) RTI Replies will be received at the Union office, and filed there. Copy of reply received will be sent to the members on whose behalf the RTI application was filed.

d)     Scan & upload RTI applications and information. All information will be received at the Union office will be scanned and uploaded to a website within a week. This will enable press and activists to probe deeper, and attract media and public involvement. Putting information in the public domain will safeguard the life of the RTI applicant by removing the incentive to threaten, assault or kill him.

e) Union will explore multiple ways to reduce risks for making RTI applications & lodging complaints. Through the Union, RTI activists will support one another to increase probability of success and to reduce personal risks. They will discuss and adopt a multi-pronged approach to filing RTI applications eg. Mr A asks for inspection of all files, Mr B asks for copy of certain documents, Mr C asks for the same or related documents from another concerned public authority with specific pointed questions, Mr D directs an RTI application to the topmost authority e.g. CM’s office, and waits for the application to be transferred to relevant offices and departments, Mr E files a complaint against the suspected wrongdoers and then files RTI to ask what action was taken on his complaint… and so on.

 

f)      Union will regularly organize meetings on various related topics. This will enable each person to expand his knowledge on the related issues, and seek advice and help from various kinds of experts, including legal experts.

g)        Pool of lawyers, architects etc. We shall enroll lawyers as our members. They will help to take corrupt officials, builders etc. to police and to court by registering FIRs, filing writ petitions, etc. They will also take up cases for protection of activists who have been attacked, threatened, victimized etc. Architects and other professionals will help us to understand the intricacies of FSI, TDR, Conveyance, various NOCs, etc.

Location :

April 9, Saturday, 5.30 pm.

Venue: 36 Vaikunt Society, 3rd Floor,

Next to Lallubhai Park,

Lane Opposite Shoppers’ Stop

Off S V Road,

Andheri West,

5 minutes walk from Andheri Station towards Vile Parle-Irla.

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