Right to Information
No records of Rs20,000 crore spent from MP LADS in public domain

Over Rs20,000 crore from the MP LADS were disbursed since a decade, but there are no records. The funds allotted for MPs to use for providing drinking water, public health, education, sanitation, sports and roads are either unused or misused

The Member of Parliament (MP) Local Area Development Scheme (LADS) funds, which were instituted in 1993 at Rs50 lakh per year have grown to Rs5 crore per year in 2011. However, the usage of MPLADS funds from all MPs of Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha, remain in controversy, thanks to the opaqueness in their expenditure.


As per the Annual report for 2010-2011 by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, which disburses these funds, at least 45% to 60% of MPLADS funds in most of the states have been spent on roads. Looks like most of our Parliamentarians, believe that creating roads means development!


As per the guidelines of MP LAD funds, preference of works under this scheme is to be given to works relating to national priorities such as provision of drinking water, public health, education, sanitation, sports and roads. However, as per the Annual Report findings, in most of the States, only 1% to 7% money has been spent on public sanitation, drinking water, electricity, health and family welfare. Except for Odisha, Kerala, Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttarakhand and Tripura, which have spent between 20% to 50% money for education, other progressive states have not spent beyond 3%-7%. Lakshadweep has been an exception, spending 100% of the funds on education. Sports too is very low on the priority list of most states that have spent not more than 3% of the funds except for North-East states like Manipur and Mizoram who spent more than 20% of it.


The committee’s findings in the Annual Report also observe that in 13 states/ union territories (UTs), Rs1.30 crore was used for not admissible items like payment of honorarium/ wages/ travelling, expenses of staff, fuel for official vehicles and purchase of laptops. It also observed that no proper records were maintained; eight States executed 700 works costing Rs9.45 crore without formal recommendations of the MPs; 150 works worth to Rs2.44 crore were recommended by the representatives of the MPs. Nearly Rs15 crore were disbursed to private trusts/ societies beyond the permissible limit of Rs25 lakh per trust and 145 illegal trusts were given around Rs6 crore from the MP LAD funds. Works worth Rs20 crore for which the district collectorates had already released money during 2004-2009, are yet to commence.

Besides the Annual Report, the website www.mplads.nic.in is not abiding comprehensively by the Section 4 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The website gives details of disbursed funds of MPs but not the detailed proposals, progress of works and completion of works that has been made mandatory. All citizens have the right to get information on the detailed plan, progress and implementation of the MP funds and this has to be mandatorily put up on the respective websites. However, this is not done. A plaque has to be permanently put at the work site with the name of the MP and that it is done from the MP LAD fund, but you hardly see such plaques.

As per the directives of the government, the following norms of transparency under the RTI Act must be followed by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation and all the district authorities which implement the works. They are:

As per the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 and the rules framed there under, all citizens have the right to information on any aspect of the MPLAD Scheme including works recommended/ sanctioned/ executed under it, cost of works sanctioned, implementing agencies, quality of works completed, user agencies, etc. The district authorities are responsible for providing information to the public in the manner required under the RTI Act, 2005.

Under the guidelines, it has been stipulated that for all works executed under the scheme, a plaque (stone/ metal) carrying the inscription ‘Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme Works’ indicating the cost involved, the commencement, completion and inauguration date and name of the MP sponsoring the project, should be erected permanently.

The MPLADS guidelines stipulate that the list of all completed and ongoing works with MPLADS funds should be displayed at the District Authority Office and posted Background and Policy on the website for information of the general public.

As per the Guidelines, there is a stipulated time limit of 75 days for consideration of sanction for a recommended work, and of one year for the completion of sanctioned work. In case of rejection of a work recommended by an MP, District Authority is to intimate to the MP within a period of 45 days with reasons thereof.

For greater transparency, it has been directed:

District Authorities are to provide information on any aspect of MPLAD Scheme, such as works recommended by MPs, works sanctioned/ not sanctioned, cost of works sanctioned, implementing agencies and quality of work completed to the general public in the manner as required under the RTI Act, 2005, as the implementation of the scheme has been brought under the purview of the said Act.

There is a MPLADS website (www.mplads.nic.in ) where information on release of funds, details of works completed and under execution are available. The District Authority is required to upload the work details on the website to make them available in the public domain.

In order to bring transparency and accountability at the ground level and to promote e-governance, software for monitoring MPLADS works was launched in November 2004. The software enables online monitoring of details of works and the analysis of this data is used to bring out various reports, once the data entry and uploading in respect of a constituency or a Rajya Sabha MP is completed.

 The modus operandi of these funds are as follows:

* The Members of Parliament-MPs have a recommendatory role under the MP LAD Scheme. They recommend their choice of works to the concerned District Authorities who implement these works by following the established procedures of the concerned State Government.

* The District Authority is empowered to examine the eligibility of works, sanction funds and select the Implementing agencies, prioritise works, supervise overall execution, and monitor the scheme at the ground level. The District Authorities get the works executed through the line departments, local self governments or other government agencies. In some cases, the District Authorities get the works executed through reputed non- government organizations (NGOs).

* Members from the Lok Sabha can recommend works in their respective constituencies. The elected members of the Rajya Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the state from which they are elected. Nominated Members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may select works for implementation anywhere in the country.

* There is no limit for works to be executed by government agencies. However, as per the background and policy, there is a ceiling of Rs25 lakh for works meant for the life time of each Trust/ Society. An MP can recommend funds only up to Rs50 lakh in a financial year from MPLADS funds for works to societies/ trusts.

* MPLADS works can be implemented in areas affected by natural calamities like, floods, cyclone, hailstorm, avalanche, cloud burst, pest attack, landslides, tornado, earthquake, drought, Tsunami, fire, chemical, biological and radiological hazards. MPs from the non-affected areas of the state can also recommend permissible works up to a maximum of Rs10 lakh per annum in the affected area(s) in that state.

* All recommended eligible works should be sanctioned within 75 days from the date of receipt of the recommendation, after completing all formalities. The District Authority shall, however, inform MPs regarding rejection, if any, within 45 days from the date of receipt of recommendations, with reasons thereof.”

* The time frame for completion of works should be stipulated to the implementing agency and should not normally exceed one year.

LIST OF WORKS NOT PERMISSIBLE UNDER MPLADS

Office buildings, residential buildings, and other buildings relating to Central or State Governments, Departments, Agencies or Organisations.

Works belonging to commercial organisations, private institutions or co-operative institutions.

Repair and maintenance works of any type other than special repairs for restoration/ up-gradation of any durable asset.

Memorials or memorial buildings.

Acquisition of land or any compensation for land acquired.

Assets of individual benefit except those which are part of approved schemes.

Places for religious worship.

(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)

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COMMENTS

Babubhai Vaghela

3 years ago

Criminal Prosecution of erring MPs Desperate Need of Hour.

Dr Paresh Vaidya

4 years ago

Good study.
We have 3 tiers of representative Democracy: MP, MLA and Corporator / Panchayat Member. They have their respective functions well defined. But under the new buzz word of "development" all want to do the same thing; Build roads which people can identify them with !

All three levels have this fund in different names. In Navi Mumbai I saw all Bus Stands in a stretch duplicated - one built by Municipality and just next, the other by the MLA !! So unimaginative. May be his fund was getting closed.

Actually time has come to scrap this scheme at all levels.

REPLY

Dayananda Kamath k

In Reply to Dr Paresh Vaidya 3 years ago

rather prosecute and punish them for misusing the public funds for setting up bus stands side by side. send them to jail for 3 years and fine 10 times the money wated that would make these people function properly

Dayananda Kamath k

4 years ago

they have used the funds for donating to ngo of election commissioner earlier. rather he was appointed after funding his ngo. none bothered to question and recover the amount.

Nagesh Kini

4 years ago

Thanks Vinita for the enlightening article on the stark realities of the MPLAD.
The entire fraud needs a serious review. But the mulla and stakes involved no MP or MLA will ever touch it, they'll only insist on enhancing as they do regularly with their own salaries and perks.
These funds ought to placed in the hands of the 73rd and 74th Amendment institutions on which they may be given a limited say.
They ought to be taken out of the present bunch who are found to be either grossly abusing or not using it at all.
The two Congress MP now re-nominated to Mumbai SC proudly publicly boasts of 'exhausting' all his funds on public toilets and drawing on others' funds as well. But no visible signs of his spends. Only a RTI will disclose this!

Ratilal Shah

4 years ago

It will be interesting to know how much and where these funds have been utilised in the states not mentioned in this report.

SuchindranathAiyerS

4 years ago

One more missing drop from a missing bucket!

RTI Judgement Series: Display suo moto reports on Koodankulam nuke power plant

The Nuclear Power Corp must display suo moto the Safety Analysis and Site Evaluation Report of KKNP Plant I & II as per Section 4(1)(c) of the RTI Act, the CIC said. This is the 199th in a series of important RTI judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi

The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) to provide a to provide an attested photocopy of the Safety Analysis Report and Site Evaluation Report after severing any proprietary details of designs provided by the suppliers.

While giving the judgement on 30 April 2012, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner, said, "...the Nuclear Power Corp of India shall publish all Safety Analysis Reports and Site Evaluation Reports and Environmental Impact Assessment reports prepared by the Department before setting up Nuclear Plants within 30 days of receiving them, unless it feels that any part of such report is exempt under the provisions of Section 8(1) or 9 of the RTI Act.."

Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu resident, Dr SP Udayakumar, on 25 April 2010, sought from the PIO information regarding Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), Reactor I & II in Tamil Nadu. For reactor I and II, he sought copies of Safety Analysis Report, Site Evaluation Report and Environment Impact Assessment report.

In his reply, the PIO said, the 339-pages Environment Impact Assessment report was available and the appellant can have a copy after paying Rs678 (Rs2 per page). "The Safety Analysis Report and the Site Evaluation Study Report were not public documents and contained design details that are proprietary in nature. As such the information was exempt under Sections 8(1)(a) and (d) of the RTI Act," the PIO said.

Citing PIO provided incomplete information, Dr Udayakumar filed his first appeal. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) agree with the PIO and observed that both the Safety Analysis Report and the Site Evaluation Study Report for KKNPP I & II were classified documents held by NPCIL.

Not satisfied with the FAA's ruling Dr Udayakumar approached the CIC with his second appeal. In his appeal, he said, safety and wellbeing of Indian citizens is very important and information must be provided (by NPCIL).

During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner, observed that the copies of copies of the Safety Analysis Report and Site Evaluation Report of reactors I & II (collectively referred to as Reports) of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu were not provided to the appellant.

The PIO argued that the Reports were classified information and the concerned public authority had not taken a decision to release it in to the public domain. He submitted that the Reports were protected from disclosure under Sections 8(1)(a) and (d) of the RTI Act.

The Bench repeatedly asked the PIO the specific reasons for claiming the said exemptions. As regards Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act, the PIO stated that the security, strategic and scientific interests of the State would be affected on disclosure of the information. However, he did not give any explanations as to how the security, strategic and scientific interests of the State would be affected on disclosure of the said reports. Further, in relation to Section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act, the PIO claimed that the Reports comprised of commercial confidence. However, he did not explain how disclosure of the said reports could be considered 'commercial confidence' and how it could harm the competitive position of a third party.

On the other hand, Dr Udayakumar, the appellant, contended that the exemptions under Sections 8(1)(a) and (d) of the RTI Act were not applicable to the present matter. He argued that a larger public interest would certainly be served on disclosure of the Reports. He also placed reliance upon the agreement between India and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which lays down the safety and maintenance standards for nuclear activities.

Dr Udayakumar further submitted that reports of the same nature were classified as public documents in countries such as US, UK and Canada in order to ensure public debate. He also gave written submissions along with a CD detailing the arguments.

The Bench of Mr Gandhi then reserved its order.

During the next hearing on 30 April 2012, the Bench said it is legally well-established that information under the RTI Act can be denied only on the basis of Sections 8 and 9 of the RTI Act. "The fact that a record has been termed as 'classified', or that it shall be disclosed subject only to an executive decision to that effect-have not been stipulated as exemptions under the RTI Act. Therefore, the PIO cannot use such grounds for denying the information sought under the RTI Act; denial of information shall be on the basis of Sections 8 and 9 of the RTI Act only," Mr Gandhi said.

The Bench then examined the PIO's contention that the Reports were exempt from disclosure under Sections 8(1)(a) and (d) of the RTI Act.

Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act exempts from disclosure-"information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence".   

Mr Gandhi noted that during the last hearing on 23 April 2012, even after repeatedly asking the basis for seeking exemption under Section 8(1)(a), the PIO gave no reasons.

Section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act exempts from disclosure- "information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;".

Mr Gandhi said, "In order to claim the exemption under Section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act, the PIO must establish that disclosure of the information sought (which may include commercial or trade secrets, intellectual property or similar information) would result in harming the competitive position of a third party. At the hearing held on 23/04/2012, the Commission repeatedly asked the PIO the specific reasons for claiming the said exemption. The PIO simply stated that the information was commercial confidence; he provided no explanation as to how disclosure of the said reports would harm the competitive position of a third party, except mentioning that the designs were of Russian manufacturers."

"From this statement and the PIOs contention that the reports contained design details, it appears that the contention was that design details of the plant were in these reports and divulging them may be considered disclosing commercial confidence, trade secret or intellectual property and such disclosure may harm the competitive position of the supplier," he said.

As per Section 19(5) of the RTI Act, in any appeal proceedings, the onus to prove that a denial of request was justified shall be on the PIO who denied the request.

"In the instant matter, the PIO has not given any justification for showing how the security, strategic and scientific interests of the State would be prejudicially affected if the Reports were disclosed-under Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act. Further, the PIO's argument indicates that exemption under Section 8 (1) (d) may be attracted if the design details of the plant were disclosed. It follows that the burden required to be discharged by the PIO under Section 19(5) of the RTI Act has not been done as far as exemption under Section 8 (1) (a) is concerned," the Bench noted.

After perusing documents submitted by Dr Udayakumar, the Bench observed that India was a member of the IAEA and had entered into the Application of Safeguards to Civilian Nuclear Facilities Agreement with IAEA in 2009. The KKNPP-Reactors I & II are included in the list of nuclear power facilities and installations annexed to the agreement for application of the safeguards prescribed by IAEA.

IAEA has, in its Safety Standards Series, issued a set of standards to be adhered to while undertaking a site evaluation for nuclear installations. IAEA has issued standards for the safety of nuclear power plants vis-à-vis design, operation and mitigating circumstances that could jeopardize safety. It prescribes safety assessment which is carried out in order to identify the potential hazards that may arise from the operation of the plant.

Dr Udayakumar had also referred to the Vienna Convention on Nuclear Safety, 1994 (Convention), to which India is a signatory. Article 5 of the Convention requires India to submit for review a report on the measures it has taken to implement each of its obligations under the Convention including evaluation of safeguards and safety standards in place for nuclear power plants.

He also cited the report of 2010 for India and referred to certain parts therein. It has been submitted that the report is required to be made in accordance with each Article listed in the Convention. "Reporting in relation to Article 17-which refers to 'Siting' makes it clear that site evaluation does not relate to national security matters under Section 8(1)(a) or anything protected under Section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act. It purely relates to geography, environment, meteorology, geology etc. These are all connected with the environment directly and inextricably and have a huge bearing on public health and safety," the Bench noted.

It said, "Reliance has also been placed upon Article 14-'Assessment and Verification of Safety' and Article 18-'Design and Construction'. The appellant had also referred to a government of India monograph mandating what is involved in site evaluation study and contends that the monograph makes it clear that the entire exercise of site evaluation is for ensuring safety of the environment and the people from any danger or fallouts."

Mr Gandhi said the Bench found merit in Dr Udayakumar's contention. "The purpose of a site evaluation for nuclear installation in terms of nuclear safety is to protect the public and the environment from the radiological consequences of radioactive releases due to accidents, etc. The Bench notes that the site evaluation report not only provides the technical basis of the safety analysis report, it contains technical information useful for fulfilling the environmental impact assessment for radiological hazards. Therefore, it follows that the site evaluation report forms an important basis of the environmental impact assessment report as well. In order to appreciate the conclusions reached in the environmental impact assessment report, a citizen must have access to the site evaluation report as well. This will enable the public to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the likely environmental impact of the KKNP Project," he said.

"Given the serious implications of the internal and external safety factors relating to nuclear reactors there is a great public interest in disclosing the safety evaluation report of the KKNP Project. Disclosure of the site evaluation and safety assessment reports will enable citizens to get a holistic understanding of the KKNP Project including environment and safety concerns," the Bench added.

Section 4 of the RTI Act contains a statutory direction to all public authorities "to provide as much information suo moto to the public at regular intervals through various means of communications, including internet, so that the public have minimum resort to the use of this Act to obtain information".

More specifically, Section 4(1)(c) of the RTI Act mandates that all public authorities shall- "publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public".

It follows from the above that citizens have a right to know about the Safety Analysis and the Site Evaluation Study Report, which has been prepared with public money.

Mr Gandhi said, the PIO has not justified the denial of the information in terms of Section 8 (1) (a) as required by Section 19 (5) of the Act. The PIO did not give any reasoning to the appellant initially, nor did he provide any cogent explanation during the hearing to the Bench, he added.

Section 8(2) of the RTI Act states, "Notwithstanding anything in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 nor any of the exemptions permissible in accordance with sub-section (1), a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests".

"The Bench is of the view that the denial of Section 8 (1) (a) of the RTI Act has not been established, and there is certainly a larger public interest in the disclosure of these reports. Section 8 (1) (d) may be attracted if the said reports have details of designs of the plant which are specially provided by the suppliers. In that event the PIO can severe such design details which have been provided by the supplier as per the provisions of Section 10 of the Act," Mr Gandhi said.

Talking about safety evaluation reports, the Bench said, where worldwide, site evaluation and safety analysis reports of nuclear power plants and installations are being put in public domain to elicit public views, India can have no reason to treat its citizens differently.

"If such reports are put in public domain, citizens' views and concerns can be articulated in a scientific and reasonable manner. If the Government has reasons to ignore the reports, these should logically be put before people. Otherwise, citizens would believe that the Government's decisions are arbitrary or corrupt. Such a trust deficit would never be in the interest of the Nation," the Bench said.

While allowing the appeal, the Bench directed the PIO to provide an attested photocopy of the Safety Analysis Report and Site Evaluation Report after severing any proprietary details of designs provided by the suppliers to the appellant before 25 May 2012. "Further, the PIO will also ensure that the complete Safety Analysis Report and Site Evaluation Report and the Environmental Impact report are placed on website before 30 May 2012, the order said.

Mr Gandhi also said, "all Safety Analysis Reports and Site Evaluation Reports and Environmental Impact Assessment reports prepared by the Department before setting up Nuclear Plants  must be displayed suo moto as per the mandate of Section 4 (1)(c ) & (d) read with 4 (2). If parts of such report are exempt as per the RTI Act, this should be stated and the exempt parts could be severed, after providing the reasons for such severance. Such a practice would be in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 of the RTI Act and would result in greater trust in the Government and its actions."

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2012/000544/18674
http://www.rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/CIC_SG_A_2012_000544_18674_M_81559.pdf
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2012/000544


Appellant                    : Dr SP Udayakumar,
                                        42/27, Esankai Mani Veethy,
                                       Parakkai Road Junction,
                                        Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu-629002
                        
Respondent               : SK Srivastava,
                                         PIO & Deputy Chief Engineer (Projects),
                                        Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited,
                                        Vikram Sarabhai Bhawan,
                                        Central Avenue Road, Anushakti Nagar,
                                         Mumbai-400094

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Pune Tree Authority appointed 7th & 10th standard pass people, reveals RTI

Almost 11 out of 13 ‘nominated’ members on Citizen Committee of Pune Tree Authority poor educational qualifications, reveals inspection carried out under Section 4 of the RTI Act. But all of them have strong political links

Tree conservation in Maharashtra has been strengthened with the Maharashtra Tree Act of 1975. In Pune, the High Court order of October 2013 has further strengthened the Tree Authority as its members need to mandatorily have required educational qualifications. The members must be a member of an apolitical non-governmental organisation (NGO), which is minimum five years old and must submit proof of work done by the member through CDs, PPTs, certificates and photographs. The NGO must also be registered with the Social Forestry department.

 

However, in a clear contempt of Court, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), on 12 March 2014, declared the names of the new Tree Authority. PMC’s appointment of members from the same NGO with a political affiliation in 2009 on the last Authority had led to the filing of a public interest litigation (PIL) in the High Court.

 

Information accessed under Right to Information (RTI) Act by Vinita Deshmukh, convener of Pune Tree Watch, includes applications of those who have been nominated as well as those whose applications have been rejected. RTI documents reveal that 11 of the 13 nominated members to Tree Authority do not even have the academic qualification as directed by the High Court. Some of them are 7th, 10th and 12th standard pass.

 

The information also reveals that screening committee members Dr Mahesh Shindikar, Associate Professor and head of environmental dept, COEP; Prof SK Chavan, Associate Professor, College of Agriculture and Anil Thorat, Deputy Director, Social Forestry, Pune have put remarks, which question the authenticity of the nominated members. In this case too, HC had recommended six member committee but only three were nominated. The names of the finalized members of Tree Authority was put up by corporators, include Kamal Vyavahare, Anil Tingre, Anil Rane, Hemant Rasne and Prithivaraj Sutar. The HC has directed that even corporators who have Science education background should be nominated in this Tree Authority but that too has not been followed.

 

Following are the remarks of the three member screening committee, which shows their un-satisfaction over the shortlisted list of candidates. In the absence of any proof of work of the shortlisted applicants, the screening committee has remarked that they have depended upon the candidates’ affidavit regarding the work he or she has done in the field of tree conservation as none of the candidates attached photographs, CDs and certificates along with their application, which proves that indeed they have done credible work in the field. The Committee also remarked that some of the selected members do not have their NGOs, which are over five year old – mandatory criteria for selection. The Committee has recommended that authenticity of their work can only be judged once they submit their work and if they do not meet the requirements, they should be sacked from the Tree Authority committee.

 

Following are the remarks by the three member screening committee procured by Vinita Deshmukh from the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 March 2014 - a special meeting was held at 12 noon that day to finalise NGO representatives as Tree authority members:

 

Name

Education qualification

Committee Remark

Dr Anil Sachin Punekar

MSc PhD

The candidate states that he has 15 years’ experience but his NGO is registered as recently as 2011. HC says it should be registered for a minimum 5 years.

 

Babasaheb Ganpat Patil

12th pass

HC clearly states that educational qualifications should be given prominence.

 

Shantanu Ramdas Jagdale

BAMS

He has given an affidavit of five years’ experience but his educational qualification is irrelevant. He should have had agriculture/ forestry or degree in environmental/ gardening

Ameya Nandkishore Jagtap

BDES

NGO since 2009. The NGO is not five years old

Ajay Baban Shinde

12th pass

He has given an affidavit that he has worked in the field for 15 years but he is only 12th standard pass

Govind Ramchandra Tharkude

B.Com

His affidavit says that he has 15 years’ experience but his educational qualifications are irrelevant to the post

Sudhir Vasant Naik

SSC

He has given an affidavit that he has 10 years’ experience in the field but his educational qualifications are not as per prescription of HC.

Milind Kundalik Pokale

M.Com

He has given an affidavit that he has 8 years’ experience but his educational qualifications are irrelevant to the post

Dattatray Sadashiv Polekar

7th pass

He has given an affidavit that he has eight years’ experience but his NGO is registered only in 2010. As per the rules his educational qualifications and his experience is inadequate

Sandip Suresh Mokate

10th pass

He has given an affidavit that he has 12 years’ experience but his NGO is registered in 2009 or 2010 and he does not have the required educational qualifications

Kaviraj Fatubhai Sangholia

7th pass

He has given an affidavit that he has 15 years’ experience but he is not adequately qualified

Jadeep Prabati Padwal

12th pass

He has given an affidavit that he has 10 years’ experience but his NGO is registered in 2012

 

Advertisement for inviting applications for the post of members of Tree Authority were given in newspapers between 20 December 2013 and 14 February 2014. Very obviously, all this public money has gone down the drain.

 

Pune Tree Watch has asked immediate dissolution of newly formed Tree Authority as not a single nominated member has registered his or her NGO with Social Forestry department, which is mandatory by the High Court rules.

 

A reply from the Social Forestry that no NGO has registered with it was given to Vinod Jain, member of the Pune Tree Watch. Hence, the entire nomination of members is null and void and is contempt of court.

 

PTW is lodging a complaint with Municipal Commissioner of PMC, as he is the chairman of the Tree Authority and demanding that the newly established Tree Authority committee be dissolved at the earliest.

 

The norms set by the High Court:

According to the norms and directives of the Bombay High Court, while appointing the nominated members of the Tree authority preference should be given to the candidates representing Non-Government Organisation and having expertise in the following categories:

1. Those holding a degree or diploma in agriculture, forestry or gardening.

2. Those having special expertise and actual experience for minimum five years in the fields of plantation, conservation and replantation of trees or conservation of environment.

3. Members of NGOs working independently.

4. Members of NGOs active at national level.

5. He or she has to be an active member of an NGO registered with the Social Forestry Department of State Government.

 

Excerpt from the High Court order:

High Court has recommended that: “The nominated members should belong to independent NGOs and PMC has stated that not more than one person shall be appointed from the same NGO. As regards the nominated members, wider representation needs to be given to diverse cross sections of NGOs with a special knowledge or expertise in plantation and preservation of trees with a minimum experience of at least five years. Care shall be taken to obviate a situation which had occurred in the past whereby all the nominated members belonged to the same NGO. While nominating the non-official members, preference shall be given to qualified persons with a degree or diploma in agriculture/ forestry/ horticulture with an expertise of five years in plantation/ preservation/ transplantation of trees and/ or in environment protection. PMC has stated that preference would be given to those NGOs who have a national presence.”

 

 

Duties of Tree Authority

  a) Protection and Preservation of all trees in all lands within jurisdiction.

     b) Carrying out a Census of existing trees on all lands every five years

     c) Prescribing standards specifying the number and type of trees each plot of land should have. In Pune, one tree is mandatory per 100 square meter area, excluding goathan area.

     d) Development and maintenance nurseries for the supply of seeds, saplings of trees to those wishing to plant new or replace felled tree.

     e) Transplantation of trees because of road construction or for safeguarding against danger to life and property.

     f) Organising vegetable and flower shows yearly to raise consciousness about trees and vegetation for human welfare. Assisting private and public institutions in organizing such shows; creation of consciousness of importance of trees and vegetation to human welfare.

     g) Giving advice and assistance to those who seek it in any matter connected with planting, protection and preservation of trees.

     h) Planting and maintenance trees as considered appropriate according to prescribed standards in public places such as along the roads, river banks, lakes, public parks and gardens.

     i) Undertaking ANY schemes considered necessary for achieving objectives of the act.

 

(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)

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COMMENTS

Parimal Shah

4 years ago

Please file a contempt of the court case against that authority.

PRADEEP SATHYE

4 years ago


What are the political contacts of these appointees.

Great work, how can I help you in such activity.

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