MMOPL should be under RTI, feels activist Shailesh Gandhi

Will the Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd's (MMOPL), which is operating the 11.04km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor, come under the under the ambit of the RTI Act? If RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi has his way, then yes. The well-known activist has filed a compliant with the Maharashtra Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and demanded that Mumbai Metro operator be made a public body since it performs a public function and has been funded by the government and is thus amenable to judicial law and review.

The activist filed the complaint with CIC after his RTI query was turned down by MMOPL and the activist was asked to contact MMRDA for the information he had demanded.

“As per the section 2 (h) (i) and (ii) of RTI Act, if a government provides funds to a body directly or indirectly, the body is considered as public authority and it comes under ambit of the Act. In case of Mumbai Metro, the government has given financial assistance of Rs633 crore- Rs133 crore as equity and Rs500 crore as viability gap funding- to MMOPL,” said Gandhi.

Gandhi also pointed out that three of the eight directors in MMOPL are bureaucrats who are supposed to control its operations.

It should be noted that the matter had come up for hearing in front of the CIC on Monday. However, it was adjourned till March 4 after MMOPL’s counsels sought adjournment saying they were not prepared .

MMOPL Spokesperson said, "We shall be sharing all information as per the applicable law. In this regard, the matter is pending before the Information Commission.The completed Project cost is about Rs 4000 cr out of which Rs 3300 crore was funded by MMOPL and its lenders ; the increase in cost (of Rs 1600cr) has been solely funded by MMOPL and its lenders without any recourse to MMRDA/ Govt."

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