Traffic can be stopped only for President, Vice President and Prime Minister

We all witness halting of traffic when all grades of ministers, with red beacon lights on their cars and cavalcade of several vehicles, pass through the road. RTI reveals this is illegal! The RTI activist also raised the issue before the Human Rights Commission

Most urban cities have one more sore point for traffic besides vehicle congestion and that is halting of traffic whenever any VIP passes by, often with a cavalcade of vehicles behind him. The common commuter is stranded, sometime for a long time.
 

While all grades of ministers lavishly enjoy this VIP treatment on roads, Jammu-based noted Right to Information (RTI) activist Deepak Sharma has procured information under RTI, which comes as a pleasant surprise.
 

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in reply to an RTI filed by Sharma revealed that the traffic on roads can be stopped only in the case of movement by the President of India, the Vice President of India, the Prime Minister of India and visiting foreign dignitaries who are given President/ PM level security cover.

  

Sharma said, “I have always been angry about closure of road traffic for the general public in order to facilitate easy and free movement of VIPs and their convoy. Even if there is a case of emergency, vehicles like ambulances also get stranded.’’

 

A couple of years back, a patient who was being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance lost his life as traffic was stranded for PM Manmohan Singh.

 

In the reply to his RTI application, the MHA said, “…it may be stated that as per guidelines issued by MHA in consultation with Central Security Agencies, traffic is to be stopped only in the case of President of India, the Vice President of India, the Prime Minister of India and visiting foreign dignitaries who are given President’s/ PM level security cover so as to give them safe passage during movement by road. Further details in this regard are exempt under Section 24 (1) and 8 (1)(g) of the RTI Act 2005 and cannot b e disclosed.’’

 

However, the RTI reply makes it clear that there is a set of rules adopted by state governments for halting of traffic for VIPs smooth transit on road. The reply states: “Details with regard to the authority vested with the police for regulating traffic movement in connection with movement of dignitaries or otherwise, may pertain to the state governments, form where the information may be obtained directly. Information on the subject may also be available with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to whom a copy of your application is being transferred under Section 6(3) of the RTI Act 2005 to provide you the information that they may have.”

 

“Similarly, a copy of your application is also being transferred to Delhi Police for providing you information (in respect of Delhi Police) if any, they may have on the subject.’’

 

Interestingly, Sharma filed his RTI, online. Following are the details:

 

RTI to MHA by online mode vide Regn. No. MHOME/R/2014/60202.
 

For reply, Please check follow the link: https://rtionline.gov.in/request/status.php

Enter registration no. : HOME/R/2014/60202

Email id                                 :  [email protected]
 

RTI queries:

1)     Kindly provide the designations of all such VIPs etc. who are allowed to move freely on the roads by closing the traffic on roads for general public.

 

2)     Kindly provide the clear and certified copy of the order/directive etc. issued by Department of Home or some other competent authority which allows/authorizes the Traffic police or any other such agency to close traffic for general public for ensuring the free and easy movement of VIPs etc on the roads.

 

3)     Kindly mention under rules what legal action is taken against a person who refuses to stop or tries to pass through the road which is closed for traffic for the easy and free movement of the VIPs on the road. Kindly provide the relevant sections under law in this regard.

 

4)     Kindly provide the clear and certified copy of the order/directive etc. which allows ambulances/patients etc. to pass through the road which is closed for traffic for general public for ensuring easy and free movement of VIPs etc on the roads.

 

Sharma termed the present practice followed by traffic police to close the traffic for allowing free movement to all VIPs as undemocratic and violation of fundamental right of the people to enjoy right to freedom of movement.

 

Sharma also approached the State Human Rights Commission of J&K, petitioning that the general public is facing lot of hardship and sufferings due to this practice. He wrote: “This act of traffic police costs lives at times particularly when patients need immediate treatment in hospitals. The stoppage of traffic for general public to give smooth passage to VIPs also hits the right to liberty and right to freedom of movement of the general public.’’

 

The petitioner also placed on record of Rights Panel, the guidelines issued by Ministry of Home Affairs to stop traffic to give passage during movement by road, only in case of president of India, the Vice President of India, the Prime Minister of India and visiting dignitaries who are given President/ PM level security cover.

 

Considering the averments made in the petition a case of Human Rights violation, the acting Chairperson of State Human Rights Commission, Rafiq Fida, issued notice to Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu and IGP Traffic, J&K for filing their factual reports in the matter. It stated: “The Commission cannot lose sight of the facts prevailing in the state on account of security scenario, but traffic department needs to adopt measures to minimize the inconvenience of the public in general due to stoppage of traffic to give safe passage to VIPs not entitled for the same”.

 

The hearing is on 30 March 2014.

 

Urging readers to file RTI in your respective city or town regarding which strata of VIP at the local level is covered under such VIP rule.

 

(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

shadi katyal

5 years ago

We the people are responsible for such deaths and delay as well as loss of business etc.
Why has the VIP themselves have brain enough to think???We created this monster ourselves by not standing up and blocking such blockages.
We could learn something from other nations.e.i USA President when visiting other cities, the time table of his route is published and junctions are closed for maximum 10 minutes and traffic is resumed. The ambulances are given preferences as matter of life and death are more important than even the President.
We should be ashamed of how the police behaves and why are the roads closed for hours ???
Maybe we should thank that ATLEAST THEY ARE NOT TRAVELLING ON ELEPHANTS OR BULLOCK CARTS BUT do we find any difference.
Thank SC for taking action even after 6 decades lagter

shadi katyal

5 years ago

We the people are responsible for such deaths and delay as well as loss of business etc.
Why has the VIP themselves have brain enough to think???We created this monster ourselves by not standing up and blocking such blockages.
We could learn something from other nations.e.i USA President when visiting other cities, the time table of his route is published and junctions are closed for maximum 10 minutes and traffic is resumed. The ambulances are given preferences as matter of life and death are more important than even the President.
We should be ashamed of how the police behaves and why are the roads closed for hours ???
Maybe we should thank that ATLEAST THEY ARE NOT TRAVELLING ON ELEPHANTS OR BULLOCK CARTS BUT do we find any difference.
Thank SC for taking action even after 6 decades lagter

Dr Anantha K Ramdas

5 years ago

Thanks to Ms Vinita Deshmukh for writing about this special treatment usurped by a lot of politicians.

Even ambulances and fire engines do not get the right of way, in heavy traffice. In the US, for instance, drivers on the road have to move aside to less the above emergency vehicles pass and traffice automatically comes to a halt to let them move on. Alas, it does not happen here in Bangalore, and I am sure in all other cities as well.

Looks like Ms Vinita Deshmukh has not been to Chennai to see the spectacle of Amma passing by to and from her office. I had a tiff with a policeman several years ago on a visit and after a heated exchange, I was told that "amma" was expected to pass! By which time, an inspector came and when I told him that I am a freelance Journalist, my auto driver was allowed to pass and
take a side road to reach my detination! The trouble is aam aadmi is helplessly placed because even the policeman on duty will ignore your complaint!

Abhijit Gosavi

5 years ago

Patient lost his life in the ambulance while traffic was stranded for a minister? Can there be anything more inhuman? Don't know how these people sleep at night!

MOHAN

5 years ago

.

Please avoid words like KINDLY, HUMBLY etc, etc. from RTI applications. It is your RIGHT to information.

Now pay RTI fees online for 2,496 Central govt offices

A six year tenacious battle by Delhi-based RTI activist Commodore (retd) Lokesh Batra has resulted in the government facilitating eIPO for payment of RTI fees in 2,496 central government offices

Since 22 March 2013, only Indians abroad had the facility of paying Right to Information (RTI) fee online, for their e-RTI applications. Since 13 February 2014, all of us living in India too can use online RTI by paying the fee through electronic Indian Postal Order (eIPO) in 2,496 central government’s public authorities. As for public authorities of state governments, you can pay your RTI fees online but you need to take out a print-out of the eIPO and attach it to your RTI application.

 

According to RTI activist Commodore (retd) Lokesh Batra, who single-handedly has pursued this campaign since the last six years, there is much enthusiasm for the eIPO facility, but a mass public awareness needs to be created through media and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the field of RTI.

 

The eIPO facility is important in terms of national savings too. As per a costing exercise undertaken in 2011-2012, the operational cost of a postal order is Rs37.45.  This information came as a response to an RTI filed by an activist to the Department of Posts on 18 October 2013. An eIPO now comes virtually free, besides relieving citizens of the inconvenience of standing in long queues at Post Offices to procure an IPO.

 

In order to purchase the eIPO online, go to the e-Post Office Portal https://www.epostoffice.gov.in or India Post web-site www.indiapost.gov.in. A link for e-Post Office has been provided to create his/ her profile for the first time. Both Debit and Credit cards of any Bank powered by Visa/ Master can be used.

 

The Department of Posts, which has created this facility, spells out the following salient features of eIPO:     


  • The eIPO facility is extended to Indian Citizens living in India

  • Indian Postal Order can be purchased online in electronic form termed as ‘electronic  Indian Postal Order(eIPO)

    All the requirements for filing an RTI application as well as other provisions regarding eligibility, time limit, exemptions etc., as provided in the RTI Act, 2005 will continue to apply

  • The applicant will have to get himself/herself registered at ePost office portal of India Post i.e. https://www.epostoffice.gov.in or through India Post web site www.indiapost.gov.in (where a link for ePostoffice has been provided) to avail this facility to pay RTI fee. Email ID, Mobile number, address, date of birth and gender etc. will be captured at the time of registration.

  • For the process of registration as at (iv) above, email id and mobile number are mandatory. The codes for verification would be sent by the system on email id as well as mobile number provided while registering

  • The applicant has to select the Ministry/Department from whom he/she desires to seek the information under the RTI Act and the eIPO so generated can be used to seek information from that Ministry/Department only

  • Payment of RTI fee can be made using Debit card or Credit card of any Bank powered by VISA/Master

  • The eIPO service will be available at the web address www.epostoffice.gov.in It can also be accessed through the link given on India Post website www.indiapost.gov.in
  •  A unique number for each transaction would be generated by the system which is to be used as eIPO number

  • A printout of the eIPO is required to be attached with the RTI application. If the RTI application is being filed electronically, eIPO is required to be attached as an attachment

Calling this as true participatory governance, Cmde Batra says the government responded positively to suggestions made by a citizen. So, what did it take to make eIPO, a reality? Following is the chronology of Cmde Batra’s campaign, to whom, all Indians in India and abroad need to thank.


  • It all started in October 2008 when Cmde Batra was visiting his daughter in Boston (USA) and wanted to file follow up RTI in the Nithari case but could not do as there was no facility for payment of RTI fee/cost from abroad

  • Between 2008 to 2013, Cmde Batra filed 150 RTI applications to Indian Mission in the US, Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Secretariats of President and Vice President and Leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. A complaint was also filed in Central Information Commission (CIC).

  • 16 August 2010: Secretary or DoPT addressed two identical letters to the than Secretary (Post) and the than Foreign Secretary seeking solution

  • 6 September 2010: Secretary (Post) offered solution through their Virtual Post Office

  • 22 March 2013: Electronic Indian Postal Order (e-IPO) launched for Indian Citizens’  Abroad"  After protracted efforts/deliberations within Government and RBI and Activists the Department of Posts (DOP) came out with service of Electronic Indian Postal Order more known as e-IPO. This is a facility for ‘Indian Citizens’ abroad’ to be able to purchase Indian Postal Order electronically by paying RTI Fee on-line through e-Post Office Portal of the DOP.

  • 7 October 2013:On his proposal to Secretaries of MEA, DoPT and Department of Posts (DOP), the above e-IPO facility was extended on 7 October 2013 for “Indian Citizens’ abroad “ to include all 176 Indian Missions abroad in the above list making it to total 2,492. Central Public Authorities including Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) and union territories (UTs).

  • 22 October 2013: Cmde Batra sent a proposal to the secretaries of DoPT and DOP to “open the existing e-IPO facilities for our citizens’ living in India too”, for payment of RTI fee / cost consisting of 2,492 central public authorities, including 176 Indian Missions abroad, GNCTD and UTs).Polite Reminders were sent on 24 December 2013 and again on 2 January 2014.

  • 8 January 2014: The DOP sent confirmation to DoPT about acceptance of the proposal and DOP’s approval to now “Open existing e-IPO facility for our ‘Citizens’ living in India”

  • 9 January 2014: In response, DoPT welcomed the DOP’s acceptance

  • Launching : 13 February 2013 at 11AM : At Dak Bhawan
     

Earlier stories in Moneylife:
 

Now, Indian citizens abroad can pay RTI fees through eIPO
 

2013 wakes up to online payment of RTI applications for Indians abroad
 

The story of filing online RTI is only getting happier
 

(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

Arun Gupta

4 years ago

I want to submit RTI to HUDA (Haryana), can I use e-ipo for this? If so what is the ministry or department I need to select while filling information for e-IPO?

Jerin Chacko

5 years ago

Dear Ms Deshmukh,


Thehttp://www.rtionline.in was accepting electronic payments by credit card/debit card previously too. I have submitted two RTI applications and paid the fee with a credit card. I hope you will make the necessary corrections.

REPLY

Jerin Chacko

In Reply to Jerin Chacko 5 years ago

Just to clarify: the website is http://www.rtionline.gov.in .

Lokesh Batra

In Reply to Jerin Chacko 5 years ago

As we are aware; Indian Postal Order (IPO)is accepted mode of payment of RTI fee & cost under Central RTI Rules. IPO can be purchased from a Post Offices during postal working hours.

The Electronic Indian Postal Order more known as eIPO can be purchased online 24x7 for any amount as required for payment of RTI fee and information cost as applicable.


eIPO was launched on 22 March 2013 exclusively for 'Indian Citizens' abroad' which is now extended to Indian Citizens' living in India too. The eIPO can be purched for 2496 Central Public Authorities including NCT Delhi and UTs. (At present e-IPO facility is not available for Public Authorities of State Governments.)


The RTI Web Portal for online filing of RTI applications was launched by DoPT on 22 April 2013 to cover only DoPT.

This RTI web portal was later extended in steps till August 2013 to cover about 90 Cenral Ministries and Departments of the Government of India.

This is the present status of RTI web Portal of DoPT.

Ram Vilas Gupta

5 years ago

Very very useful facility for every Indian citizen

Nalin Patel

5 years ago

thanks

Is the blood you donate, going down the drain?

In a recent RTI filed by an activist from Jammu, it has been revealed that blood donated by people was being discarded because of mismanagement by blood banks and hospitals. This, however is not the first time. Time for audit of blood banks?

An upcoming blood donation drive to be held this weekend in Pune has been hyped through innumerable hoardings, with pictures of celebrities and even historic personalities like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as ambassadors for the blood donation camp. A few months back, a social organisation too had painted the town red, with a similar outdoor advertisement blitzkrieg.

 

As per national data, India needs 8.5 million odd units annually as against some 5 to 5.5 million units that are collected. However, the question is how much of the blood collected, mostly through blood donation camps, goes down the drain?

 

Last week, Deepak Sharma, Jammu-based Right to Information (RTI) activist, in a reply to his query of how many units of blood were wasted in two government hospitals in Jammu, was given the shocking reply that 1,938 units of blood were thrown away. (One unit of blood is equal to 450 ml). While the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) wasted 1,140 units of blood units in three years between 2011 and 2013, the Sri Maharaja Gulab Singh (SMGS) Hospital wasted 796 blood units during the same period.

 

What is distressing is the fact, that while a blood bank is created to ensure instant blood to patients particularly during emergencies, family members and relatives have to often run helter-skelter to get blood for their loved one who may be battling between life and death.

 

Sharma states, “Many times it is seen that people face severe hardship for arranging blood for their patients as most of the time they are denied blood from the blood banks in hospitals and are asked to arrange it at their own. Citizens and volunteers throng blood donation camps and willingly part with their own blood with the noble intention of saving lives of others. To find the utilisation of blood and functioning of blood banks in the hospitals I filed RTI.’’

 

The Government Medical College and Hospital, Jammu, in reply to Sharma’s RTI divulged that it discarded 183 units of blood in 2011; 536 units in 2012 and 421 units of blood 2013. Whereas in SMGS Hospital discarded 235 units of blood in 2011, 247 units in 2012 and 316 units in 2013.

 

Sharma says, “The figures speak volumes of the wastage of the blood, which normally expires in 35 days from the date of its collection. It is also submitted that blood components, which are prepared from a unit of whole blood and includes Red Blood cells, platelets and fresh frozen plasma are not prepared in GMCH, as it does not have the permission to prepare the components of blood due to paucity of machines and space. Also, around 500 units of blood is given to other private hospitals and nursing homes in the state. Furthermore, the SMGS hospital is waiting from the last one year to get its blood bank license renewed which has expired in December 2012 but continues to collect blood.’’

 

The reason for wastage of blood is shocking as Sharma found out. He says, “One of the major reasons for blood wastage has been the absence of maintaining the temperature of blood units during its shifting from the blood bank to the recipient department or on receiving it back at the blood bank owing to its non-utilisation. There seems to be a lack of proper storage, handling facilities and qualified technicians at the hospital and many of such units are destroyed by the blood bank because of reaching expiry date, which could have been given to those in need of blood.’’

 

To save the blood from being wasted, Sharma has appealed to the state government to “device a mechanism to inter connect all the blood banks in hospitals across the state where availability of blood units of various groups is updated regularly, so that those in need of blood can contact the respective blood bank and blood is used before its expiry.’’

 

In another RTI filed by a doctor in Mumbai, the prestigious St George Hospital in Fort, has also admitted of wasting blood units due to mismanagement. As per the news report in Mid-Day, between January 2012 and August 2013, 44.45 litres of whole blood and around 918 litres of plasma (plasma is procured from red blood cells within six hours of the blood collection) was not used by the hospital and languished beyond its expiry date.

 

The activist also appealed to Maharashtra government to conduct regular audit of blood banks to minimise the blood wastage.

 

(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

nagesh kini

5 years ago

Thanks Vinita for highlighting the sad state of our blood banks that are simply wasting an extremely perishable life saving commodity. There is nothing to prevent the authorities from setting up a simple saving mechanism of proper refrigeration and storage and putting out in the public domain, possibly a Red Cross Blood Bank web site the type and quantity available at least on a weekly basis.
The wastage can possibly be minimized by issuing out blood on first-in-first basis to other hospitals and banks.The donotions shouldn't go in vain.

Vinay Joshi

5 years ago

Hello Ms. Vinita,

How are you?

In blood donation & blood banks as well transfusions, equipment's & new technologies are required to be introduced. Software is required to be embedded – it’s a far cry.

You are talking of Jammu & St. George!?

What happened to Aundh district hospital?! Several aspects were deficient in joint inspection.

This is to request you to find out under RTI when they will meet the standards.
Another joint inspection in three months will take place before it becomes operational.

Why important? It was the first bank approved by state govt. for blood components.
Important an aspect like platelets for thalassemia patients, etc; as of now there is no govt. run blood bank for component separation in Pune.

Hopefully it should be the first bank in the running, other nine envisaged yet in formation.
RTI should be invoked as not only FDA [state] but center Drug Controller CERTIFIES it.

There should be no compromise not only in Aundh, other nine envisaged in the state BUT anywhere in the country.

Majority of donor camps blood is collected in single bag, at the most double. Stability & validity of storage!?

Do the ‘CAMPS’ ever check & STATE on conformity to ISO 3826 with documentary evidence?
DO THE DONORS ASK FOR IT? Every donor, irrespective, highly respected by me, BLOOD SHOULD NOT BE IN DRAIN LIKE GOVT.’s BRAIN IN THE DRAIN!?

Regards,


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