Kerala’s Athirappilly Hydel Power Project Is a Recipe for Disaster, Shows RTI Reply
Thanks to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) was made public. Chaired by noted environmentalist, Madhav Gadgil, it reveals stringent norms for development in ecologically sensitive areas of different degrees.
 
As for Kerala, WGEEP recommends that no new dams based on large-scale storage be permitted in Ecologically Sensitive Zone 1 as defined by the Panel. Since Athirappilly hydel project sites fall in Ecologically Sensitive Zone 1, this project should not be accorded environmental clearance.
 
Despite this, Kerala’s Athirappilly hydel power project has been the issue of fierce controversy. 
 
The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) proposed a hydroelectric dam across the Chalakudy River in Trichur district in Kerala, to generate 163 MW of power. Such was the defiance and arrogance that the then Kerala’s chief minister has termed opponents to this project as ‘anti-developmentalists’. 
 
He and the KSEB were fighting with all their might to ensure that the dam is constructed, never mind the ecological devastation. Environmentalists, local tribal leaders and non-government organisation (NGOs) have fought back tooth and nail to stop this project but their efforts at every stage have been nullified by the political leaders.
 
Following are excerpts from the WGEEP Report, which will give you an insight into how the powers-that-be defy every environmental norm under the name of development and also tells you about the invaluable natural treasure that this project will destroy forever. Needless to say, like lakhs and lakhs of Keralites, it is the common man who will bear the heavy brunt of the politicians’ care a damn attitude towards environment.
 
The Athirappilly hydel power project as scrutinised by the WGEEP:
 
 
WGEEP proposes that environmental clearance should not be given to any large-scale storage dams in eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) 1 and ESZ 2. The location of Athirappilly dam falls in ESZ 1. Hence, we recommend that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) refuse environmental clearance to it. WGEEP further notes that the process of proper assignment of rights under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Rights over the Forest) Act has not been completed and it is therefore quite improper to accord environmental or forest clearances.
 
The Union ministry of environment and forests gave forest clearances in two phases in 1997 and 1999 and environmental clearance in 1998.  The High Court of Kerala suspended all the three sanctions based on several public interest litigations (PILs), because of the MoEF’s violation of the Environmental Protection Act and controversial tendering process.
 
The High Court directed the Central government to withdraw the sanction given earlier and conduct a public hearing in accordance with the environment impact assessment (EIA) notifications of the MoEF and reconsider the environmental clearance given.
 
 
Accordingly, a public hearing was conducted by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board in February 2002 by the Tropical Botanical Gardens and Research Institute (TBGRI). The public hearing panel asked for a second EIA, which should be comprehensive. The KSEB engaged Water and Power Consultancy Services India Ltd (WAPCOS) in January 2002 to conduct a comprehensive environment impact assessment (CEIA).
 
Their report was questioned by the Chalakudy Puzha Samrakhna Samithi (Chalakudy River Protection Council) on various grounds like its period of study, consultations with various agencies (local bodies, various departments of the government and the local communities) suggested by the High Court, methodology, and scientific reliability.
 
The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) in an affidavit filed in the High Court categorically stated that the EIA report of WAPCOS was not comprehensive, and that the methods followed for the biodiversity studies were wrong and unacceptable. There was no indication that WAPCOS had any consultation with the agencies suggested by the public hearing panel. 
 
However, the KSEB went ahead and obtained the clearance from the MoEF in February 2005.
 
Another PIL was filed by the Athirappilly Gram Panchayat and the Kadar tribals, the actual potential sufferers of the proposed dam, challenging the sanction accorded by the MoEF, mainly on the ground that the report of the second EIA was not circulated and kept away from the public and that there was no public hearing on the second EIA. The Division Bench of the Kerala High Court by its order on 23 March 2006 quashed the environmental clearance given by the MoEF in February 2005 and asked the Kerala State Pollution Control Board to conduct a public hearing after publishing the environmental assessment report stated to have been prepared by the KSEB.
 
Thus, the second public hearing on the proposed Athirappilly hydro-electric dam was conducted on 15 June 2006 at Chalakudy in Trichur. According to the written submission made by Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samithi to the WGEEP, more than 1,200 people attended the public hearing where none spoke in favour of the Project and, in the 252 written representations submitted to the public hearing panel, the ratio for and against the project was 1:9, respectively. The Samithi further stated that the minutes of the public hearing panel was not unanimous. Of the five members, three were against the Project and among them two happened to be the Presidents of Athirappilly Gram Panchayat and Chalakudy Block Panchayat, representatives of the people from the two Panchayats, who would be affected directly by the construction of dam.
 
Pressure from civil society mounted up again, against the project. A five member Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the MoEF visited the dam site and related areas, and had discussions with those opposing the project as well as officers of the KSEB at Athirappilly in April 2007. It also conducted a Public Hearing at the Town Hall, Trichur the following day. The then Chairman of the KSBB was also present at the meeting.
 
Members of the Committee did not seek any clarification on the points raised by those objecting to the project. Instead it was just another Public Hearing.
 
Based on the report of this Committee, the Expert Committee for River Valley projects of the MoEF gave clearance for the project on 18 July 2007.
 
PILs were filed again by one Geetha, representative of the primitive Kadar tribe, and CG Madhusoodhanan, a hydrology engineer. Ms Geetha challenged the project on the ground of ecology and biodiversity and the impact on their life-support system, while Madhusoodhanan challenged the WAPCOS EIA per se and the hydrological data base used in the WAPCOS study.
 
The Kerala State Biodiversity Board discussed the issue in detail and took a decision against the Project considering the rich biodiversity of the area and filed an affidavit at the Kerala High Court as KSBB has been made a Respondent.
 
The Kerala High Court heard the case twice, in 2008 and in 2009, by two Division Benches. 
 
On mounting pressure from the Government of Kerala for the clearance from the MoEF, it has asked the WGEEP to examine the issue, along with a few other projects proposed in the Western Ghats, and give recommendations. However, the WGEEP recommendations were subsequently thrown to the winds.
 
WGEEP’s visits:
 
  • The WGEEP visited the proposed dam site, the reservoir area, the primitive tribal settlements at Pokalappara and Vazhzchal, its surroundings and, the downstream Thumburmuzhi major Irrigation project (Chalakudy River Diversion Scheme) on 29 January 2011. 

 

  • It had consultations at various levels; with the representatives of the primitive Kadar tribe at the site, the local Panchayat (Athirappilly Panchayat), and the general public, who responded to the WGEEP’s press note inviting those interested to come and give their views.

 

  • In addition to these, the WGEEP organised a technical consultation, which was attended by experts from the KSEB, Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samithi, River Research Centre, Kerala Sastra Sahithya Parishath (KSSP), Kerala Forest Research institute (KFRI), Kerala State Biodiversity Board, TBGRI, and Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF). Officers from Kerala State’s departments of Irrigation, Tribal Department, and Forest & Wildlife, Tourism section, retired forest officers, Vana Samrakhana Samithi, and KSEB’s Officers' Association were also present. It goes to the credit of the WGEEP that this was the first time that such a discussion was held between the proponents and opponents of the Project.

 

  • The WGEEP heard the views of all sections and individuals and, the Chairman, WGEEP requested the KSEB and all other participants that if they had any additional information or more detailed answers to questions raised by both the parties, they may send them to the Chairman by e-mail or post.

 

  • WGEEP’s conclusions were based on the views expressed by and the written representations received from the local primitive tribal community, Athirappilly Panchayat, the general public, technical experts including the officers of the KSEB, the detailed minutes of the 14th meeting of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board held on 26 September 2007, the EIAs conducted by the TBGRI (1996) and WAPCOS (2002), the results of the three public hearings as given in the minutes of the KSBB, technical details of the project explained by the KSEB, questions raised on the technical feasibility of the project, alternatives for power and the alternatives suggested by the Kerala High Court in its judgment of 17 October 2001.
 
WGEEP’s conclusions:
 
1. Unique riverine forest ecosystem: The riparian vegetation in the Chalakudy river system is unique in that there is no such riparian vegetation at such low elevations anywhere else in the Western Ghats, especially in Kerala.
 
2. High endemism in the riparian vegetation: The riparian vegetation in the proposed dam site contains 155 species of endemic plants and more than 33 species of plants belonging to the Rare, Endangered and Threatened categories of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
 
3. Richness in endemic, endangered species: The project area has a high degree of endemic species of several taxa: 21% of plants (out of 508 spp.), 16% of butterflies (out of 54 spp.), 53% of amphibians (out of 17 spp.), 21% of reptiles (out of 19 spp.), 13% of birds (out of 98 spp.) and, 14% of mammals (out of 22 spp.) recorded in the area are endemic species (WAPCOS EIA 2002). 
 
4. Critically endangered plants: Critically endangered riparian trees such as Syzygium occidentalis and Atuna travancorica occur in the area. 
 
5. Rare species of plants in Kerala: Gymnema khandalense was reported in Kerala only from Athirappilly. A new species of plant, namely Lagenandra nairii is reported only from Athirappilly.
 
6. Habitat connectivity: The riparian vegetation of the Vazhachal-Athirappilly area serves as a link between the varied habitats at lower and higher elevations. 
 
7. The very high conservation value: According to the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for Kerala prepared by the French Institute, Pondicherry, the conservation value of the Vazhachal (project area) is as high as 75%. The KFRI, in a recent study, has also classified Vazhachal area as a High Value Biodiversity Area and has brought out a detailed Biodiversity Management Plan for it.
 
8. Unique area for bird conservation: i) Of the 486 species of birds recorded from Kerala, 234 are sighted in the Vazhachal-Athirappilly area, ii) all the four species of hornbills found in Kerala, namely Malabar Grey Hornbill, Grey Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, and Great Indian Hornbill occur in the Athirappilly-Vazhachal area; a very rare phenomenon, iii) riparian forests of the area constitute one of the only two breeding sites of the Malabar Pied Hornbill in Kerala, the other being Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, iv) 12 of the 16 species (75%) of the endemic species of birds seen in the Western Ghats are present in the Athirappilly-Vazhachal area. 
 
9. Important Bird Area (IBA): The Vazhachal-Sholayar area has been identified as a globally Important Bird Area in 1995 by Birdlife International, Cambridge. 
 
10. Extremely high fish diversity: Out of the 210 species recorded in Kerala, the Chalakudy River has 104 species including 22 Endangered and 9 Critically Endangered species
 
11. New species of fish: The fish fauna of the Chalakudy River is unique in that there are as many as five new species, namely Osteochilichthys longidorsalis, Travancoria elongata, Horabagrus nigrocollaris, Puntius chalakudiensis, and Salarias reticulatus were discovered for the first time from the Chalakudy River
 
12. An extremely rare species of fish: The population of one fish species (Osteochilichthys longidorsalis) found only in the Chalakudy river has reduced 99% during the last two decades.
 
13. Fish abundance in the project area: In a single study, out of the 99 species of fish recorded in the Chalakudy River, 68 were from the project area. 
 
14. Breeding area of fish: Athirappilly-Vazhachal area provides microhabitats for various species of fishes to breed. 
 
15. Fish migration: Some of the species of fish migrate upstream while some do so downstream to complete their annual life cycle. Hence, construction of the dam will directly affect the survival of these species. 
 
16. Chalakudy River as a Fish Sanctuary: Considering the rich fish diversity and its other various importance as given above, the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources has recommended the Chalakudy River to be declared as a Fish Sanctuary. 
 
17. Loss of microhabitats of amphibians: Some amphibians such as the torrent frog Micrixalus saxicolus recorded from the area are confined only to the boulders submerged in the water course would lose their habitat by commissioning this project. 
 
18. Elephant Reserve: The entire project area falls within the Elephant Reserve No9 identified by the MOEF under ‘Project Elephant’.
 
19. Migratory route of elephants: The submergence area is within the migratory route of elephants from Parambikulam plateau to Pooyamkutty forests. 
 
20. Presence of the rare Lion-tailed Macaque: One troop containing around 13 individuals of the Lion-tailed Macaque, an endemic, endangered species of the Western Ghats, lives in the riparian vegetation of the submergence area. 
 
21. Ideal habitat of the rare Cane Turtle: The cane turtle, an endemic and endangered
 
The Background of RTI’s role in making the report public:
 
Invaluable work done has been done by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel - WGEEP of the Western Ghats, which has one of the 34 global biodiversity hot spots and spread across a whopping 1.29 lakh odd square kms. The Western Ghats is spread over six states—Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Curiously, it was the MoEF, which instituted this study, but after completion and assurance by the Ministry that the report would be made public in September 2011, it suddenly clamped up. Naturally, as the vested interest in mining, construction, making roads and railways and so on in all of these States, would be at a disadvantage.
 
So, G Krishnan, a resident of Kerala, invoked the RTI in November 2011 at the MoEF office. He asked for the copy of the WGEEP report under Section 6 of the RTI Act. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied information stating that the MoEF was still in the process of examining the report in consultation with six state governments of the Western Ghats region.
 
Krishnan then filed a first appeal with the Appellate Authority of the MoEF but here too he was denied information stating that “it comes under Section 8” (information can be denied in this section for various reasons—here it was cited as compromising with economic interests of states, which was indeed laughable).
 
Krishnan then filed a second appeal with the Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi in New Delhi. The PIO reasoned that “views from 11 ministries, the Planning Commission and six states were being sought. Therefore, disclosure of information at this stage would lead to various proposals as per the recommendations of the report which had not been finally accepted. This would affect the economic interests of the state.”  The CIC in its order on 9 April 2012 asked MoEF to provide copy of the report by 5 May 2012 and put it up on the website by 10 May 2012. (Read: RTI Judgement Series: When the Western Ghats ecology status report was made public)
 
Not satisfied with the CIC decision, the MoEF sought legal intervention. It filed a petition with the Delhi High Court in first week of May. The MoEF argued that “a host of information in relation to the minutes of the meeting and report of the Madhav Gadgil Committee are already uploaded on the website—www.westernghatsindia.org”.
 
The submission raised by the MoEF that providing a copy of the report would harm the economic interests of the state was demolished by the judge who stated that, “It must be remembered that the object and purpose of governance in a democracy is to fulfil the will of the people.” It ordered that the report should be made public and finally it did thanks to the RTI 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”.) 
Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

NRIs Can’t Use RTI Anymore, Says Indian Govt
The Indian government has, early this month, suddenly decided to stop non-resident Indians (NRIs) from filing online applications under Right to Information (RTI) through the e-IPO way, which they fought for so hard for in 2013. With a whopping 176 Indian Missions abroad showing favourable responses to RTI applications from Indians abroad, the latter is upset at this knee-jerk decision.
 
This decision was revealed not through an announcement but in the Lok Sabha on 8 August 2018, when Jugal Kishore, member of Parliament (MP) asked, “Whether non-resident-Indians (NRIs) are also eligible to file online RTI applications and if so the procedure aid down in this regard.” (http://164.100.47.190/loksabhaquestions/annex/15/AU3535.pdf)
 
Dr Jitendra Singh, minister of state in the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions and who is also the minister of state in the prime minister’s office (PMO), stated, “Only citizens have the right to seek information under the provisions of RTI Act, 2005. Non-residents are not eligible to file RTI applications.”
 
 
The minister blundered in saying only citizens have the right to file applications under RTI and NRIs cannot. This is because NRIs are Indian citizens. What the minister probably meant was all Indians abroad.
 
This is in total contrast of the office memorandum issued on 22 March 2013 by the department of personnel & training (DoPT) under the ministry of personnel, public grievances & pensions. 
 
This circular states that a special service called ‘e-IPO’ (electronic Indian Postal Order) has been launched for Indians living abroad to facilitate them to seek information from the central public information officers (CPIOs) under the RTI Act. Debit and credit cards were allowed to be used to purchase e-IPO.
 
Also, the government then in its circular had stated under Right of NRIs: “…under the current provisions of the RTI Act, NRIs can file RTI applications seeking information from either from a particular Mission or Post abroad or from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) itself. Accordingly, a fee of Rs10 per application equivalent in local currency is accepted by Missions and Posts abroad.” 
 
Thereafter, the campaign focused on e-IPO where you could buy the Indian postal online and the citizens triumphed.
 
Electronic postal order was a big achievement for Indian citizens abroad, who had been pressing the government for the five years to facilitate them in nation building by exercising their right to know. Their victory finally came in 2012 after several Indians living in different countries sent a petition to the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
 
Expressing shock over the development to bar NRIs from using RTI, Commodore Lokesh Batra, a noted Delhi-based RTI activist, who had been at the helm of this campaign to facilitate e-IPO so that Indians abroad can use RTI, states, “the Centre’s response in the Lok Sabha is misleading. NRIs are shocked and are raising questions over the government statement denying their right to file RTI when they have been doing so since the last five years. What has changed they ask. They also find this ridiculous that they are allowed to vote from their countries of karma but have been thrown out from the arena of transparency.”
 
Commodore Batra had filed more than 150 RTI applications in various relevant departments since 2008 and consistently pressured the government to provide online payment facilities for RTI fees.
 
He questions the sluggish attitude of the central information commission (CIC) in fighting this out with the government. He also slams the government for lack of public knowledge and consultations regarding this vital issue.
 
The efforts That went into empower NRIs in filing RTI applications:
 
4 February 2011: Department of Posts wrote to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stating, “The Department of Posts has developed a portal called ‘e-portal’ office. We have received a reference from the Secretary, DoPT requesting to include a provision for the purchase of Indian postal orders by Indian citizens living abroad to enable them to seek information under the RTI Act, 2005. The challenge faced by the Indian citizens is in remitting the prescribed fee for seeking information as per the specified mode of the Act. The post office can provide a solution to this challenge, since the Indian postal order is one of the most prescribed modes of payment under the RTI Act. To put a system in place to facilitate this, we would require clearance to accept credit card/debit card for online payment from abroad through e-portal.”
 
15 June 2011: RBI’s reply to Commodore Batra’s RTI query on the status of letters from the Department of Posts stated: “The RBI has not taken a final decision on the request of the Department of Posts. As such this information cannot be given as per Section 8 of the RTI Act.” 
 
3 February 2012: RBI (which had earlier denied Commodore Batra information under Section 8 of the RTI Act) it had sent its “no-objection” to the government. Anita Kumari, manager of the RBI, in a letter to the Ministry of Communications & IT, Department of Posts, on 3 February 2012 had stated, “…the payment gateway provider will be Axis Bank” and “online payments from abroad should be made only through debit and credit cards issued by the bank having affiliations with one of the card payment networks authorised under the PSS Act 2007”.
 
12 December 2012: Department of Posts sets a deadline of 15 January 2013.
 
Some of the milestones in this citizen campaign include:
 
2008: Commodore Batra steered the campaign for Indians abroad, when he had a personal experience in 2008 when he was in the US. The date for his appeal before the Information Commission in Delhi was fixed while he was abroad, and then chief information commissioner, Dr Wajahat Habibullah, allowed the hearing through audio-conferencing. However, when he began to ask about regular RTI applications filed from the US, he found that Indians there faced many hurdles.
 
The Indian embassy in Washington threw its hands up, saying that it could only accept RTI applications pertaining to queries related to its office, or at the most those related to the ministry of external affairs. Indians tried to impress upon the embassy that under Section 6(3) it is the duty of the PIO to forward applications not relevant to him, to the concerned departments. But the embassy refused to take responsibility.  This triggered off his campaign.
 
2009: Commodore Batra filed a complaint with the CIC in April 2009 against the ministries for not providing him the required information. Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit gave an order on 16 April 2010 asking the DoPT to ‘formulate’ a system to “facilitate accessibility of the Act by Indians abroad.” 
 
2010: Commodore Batra was joined by activists abroad. The campaign abroad was steered by RTI activist Vishal Kudchadkar, member of Association for India’s Development (AID), living in California. In 2010, a delegation of US-based Indian activists submitted their petition to the then prime minister Singh, carrying signatures from 316 Indians residing in Australia, Burundi, Canada, Dubai, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Holland, Japan, Kuwait, Maldives, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, UAE, the UK and the US. However, the PMO was silent on this issue (not surprising). 
 
What the petition to the PM stated:
 
The petition said: “Our suggestion is that just as the government has facilitated APIOs by the postal department in India for all public authorities, along similar lines, the government should facilitate an APIO in each Indian Mission/Post in local embassies and charge fees equivalent to rupees.”
 
“Alternatively, we suggest that arrangements may be made by the MEA, the administrative ministry for Indians abroad, for missions to accept RTI fees in foreign currency from applicants filing RTI to central public authorities, using the same procedure as they are hitherto doing for RTI applications concerning their own ministry. The mission’s role would be to accept the fee along with a copy of the passport to verify the citizenship and issue a receipt/E-receipt to the applicant for the fee. Thereafter, either the mission or the RTI applicant can forward the application to the concerned central public authority (PA) online… Any additional costs for providing the information can be remitted to the mission in the same way and the receipt/E-receipt given by the mission can serve as proof of payment.” 
 
Our earlier stories:
 
 
 
 
(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”.) 
 
Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

COMMENTS

dhatul

11 months ago

"The minister blundered in saying only citizens have the right to file applications under RTI and NRIs cannot. This is because NRIs are Indian citizens. What the minister probably meant was all Indians abroad."
While the minister has obviously blundered, it is not clear why you assumed that he meant that all Indians abroad are not eligible to file RTI applications. No change has been brought in the act. Further, it is not clear what is the basis for reporting that e-IPOs are being discontinued.

How Journalists Can Use RTI for Authentic Stories
The Right to Information (RTI) Act has helped Indian journalists unearth sensitive, important and hidden information to break major stories. RTI is a very important tool for journalists, especially in a country like India. Journalism and how it is practised has changed a lot over the decades.
 
From a state where getting even public information was hard to get, we now have an information overload, with huge volumes of information available a click away. 
 
 
But information deemed sensitive by rulers is still hard to get. There are also security restrictions and physical barriers to access. However, one thing has remained constant – the big newsbreak goes to the journalist who has access to the right sources, who can get accurate information. RTI is one way to break this barrier. It allows journalists to break news stories without having to suck up to the power-that-be and to get information as a matter of right.
 
 
Keeping this in mind, Moneylife Foundation, in partnership with Mumbai Press Club, conducted a special workshop on RTI for journalists. Senior journalist and Founder-Trustee of Moneylife Foundation, Sucheta Dalal started the session about how Moneylife has successfully written investigative stories using RTI applications as an effective tool. One such story was the NSE (National Stock Exchange) defamation suit against Moneylife, where former central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi filed several RTI applications to help gather evidence in increasing the pressure and ensuring further investigation. 
 
 
At the session, Mr Gandhi talked briefly about the RTI Act and how it can be used effectively by journalists in researching and writing stories. Explaining the origin of RTI in democracy, Mr Gandhi stressed upon the importance of swaraj or self-rule in India. He said, “Since we live in a democratic country and which is in fact the world’s largest democracy, it we, who have elected the government and therefore are the badshah and begum. Also as badshah and begum, we not only have rights but we also have some duties.”
 
 
Mr Gandhi then explained the detailed procedure for filing an RTI application, the difference between mode of fee acceptable at Central government and state government and word count acceptable in Maharashtra. He also cited real-life examples, where filing of RTI application has actually helped in delivery of better governance. Instead of cribbing on civic issues, one needs to file at least one RTI application every month, he added.
 
 
The event at Mumbai Press Club ended with a panel discussion involving Mr Gandhi, Ms Dalal and Samir Zaveri, who is well-known for his work as a Railways activist, using RTI very effectively.  
Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

online financial advisory
Pathbreakers
Pathbreakers 1 & Pathbreakers 2 contain deep insights, unknown facts and captivating events in the life of 51 top achievers, in their own words.
online financia advisory
The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Online Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
financial magazines online
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
financial magazines in india
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Online Magazine)