Believe it or not but the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) wants Rs 20,000 to provide a soft copy of a single blue print — detailed project report (DPR) of its proposed Metro c
Believe it or not but the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) wants Rs 20,000 to provide a soft copy of a single blue print — detailed project report (DPR) of its proposed Metro corridors in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). This was revealed in a reply to a Right To Information query filed by The Asian Age. However, RTI activists have slammed the MMRDA and said that a soft copy can be provided for free or the authority could charge for the CD.
The Asian Age in an RTI application dated August 27 had sought soft copies of the DPRs of three Metro corridors namely Dahisar-DN Nagar Metro-2A corridor, Dahisar east- Andheri east Metro-7 corridor and the Wadala-Thane-Kasarvadavali Metro-4 corridor. CM Devendra Fadnavis, who has approved the DPR of these three corridors, heads the development authority.
Activists said MMRDA has to charge according to the price prescribed in the RTI Act in case of hard copies and not according to its internal circulars. “Internal circulars cannot overrule the norms prescribed under the RTI Act,” activists argued. S.V. Patil, statistician, public information officer, MMRDA, in its reply dated September 30, said: “With respect to your RTI application, it is to inform you that vide our office order of the metropolitan commissioner dated November 8, 2010, DPRs of Metro corridors is available on payment of Rs 20,000.”
When asked whether the same charges can be levied for the soft copy or not, Mr Patil said, “I am just following the office order of the commissioner and you may go for first appeal in case you are not satisfied with my reply.” Transport expert Ashok Datar, who had faced a similar problem while filing an RTI plea, said, “Citing office orders and making it this expensive is just another way to discourage people from filing RTIs. It is outrageous that for a soft copy, MMRDA wants Rs 20,000.”
Ex-central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said, “If the concerned department has already fixed a price for certain documents, the officer will charge and we cannot blame him for following the order. But this is not in favour of transparency and the matter should be taken up with the state information commissioner.” Despite repeated attempts, MMRDA metropolitan commissioner, U.P.S. Madan was unavailable for comment. Dilip Kawathkar, spokesperson, MMRDA, said, “I will have to check with the office order. I will take up the matter if we are asking Rs 20,000 just for a soft copy.”