Not allowed to see study reports for DP, activists plan to approach court
RTI activists say PMC should comply with Delhi HC ruling and make reports public
A group of city-based social and RTI activists are contemplating legal action against the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for refusing to show them various surveys and study reports that have been submitted to the civic body for preparing the draft of the Development Plan (DP) for the old city areas.
According to these activists, PMC has already denied them the copy of the draft DP, stating that it will be available for citizens only after the general body proposes changes in the draft, and now the civic administration has also refused them to show the survey reports that were being submitted to PMC by various social institutions after surveying sectors like traffic and transport, housing, demographic survey, socio-economic survey and land survey.
Social activist Ranjeet Gadgil stated he received a letter by city engineer Prashant Waghmare saying civic administration would not be able to provide the surveys and study report as it was part of DP draft. “I had asked for the survey report that was submitted by IIT Powai on traffic and transportation in the city. However, I was denied on the grounds that the survey was part of draft of DP, and it would only be accessible once the civic administration would decide to put it in the public domain,” he said.
Gadgil further added that Waghmare told him to wait until the draft is tabled in general body meeting. “Its not sure when the draft would be tabled, and till then we have to wait to see the draft of the plan, and therefore we have decided to move the High Court in this regard” Gadgil said.
Elaborating the reference of a judgment given by Delhi High Court in the May this year, another social activist Satish Khot said that PMCs decision to withhold their request was contempt of the Delhi HC, which in its judgment stated that any report unless confidential like defence related issues or personal issues, submitted to the government should be made available for citizens.
The Delhi HC’s judgment came after the Madhav Gadgil Committee report on preservation of unique ecosystem of the Western Ghats submitted to the union ministry of environment and forest in August 2011 wasn’t made available for public till May this year. After the Delhi HC verdict, the report was uploaded on the ministry’s (Environment and Forest) website on May 23.
Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak said the draft would not be made available for the public unless it is tabled in general body. He said he was not aware whether the survey reports were the part of draft of DP and asked MiD DAY to contact city engineer Waghmare.
Pune municipality became a corporation on Feb 15, 1950. The first non-statutory ‘master plan’ of Pune was prepared in 1954 and the first statutory ‘development plan’ in 1966. The first revision process of this DP was started in 1982, and the state government in 1987 sanctioned the revised DP. The effective validity of this plan was for 20 years — up to 2007. Hence the second revision (DP 2008) is now underway. The DP aims to provide a direction to the city’s overall development.