Right to (false) information: BMC lying blatantly to its own fireman?
When Fireman Rajaram Dhuri filed an RTI in 2013 and asked for the status of the fire brigade workshop in Byculla, he was told the construction had been completed as far back as 2011; the work isn’t complete even now
The BMC seems to have been lying blatantly to one of its own firemen for more than a year now. While the fire brigade workshop building at Byculla is incomplete, when fireman Rajaram Dhuri filed an RTI application to ask about its status, he was told that work on it had been completed.
The under-construction building in Byculla and (left) Fireman Rajaram Dhuri. In its RTI reply, the BMC had also claimed to have spent R14.47 crore on the construction, raising questions on where the money went. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
This was in December 2013 and the building stands incomplete even now. The civic body has not, however, corrected itself or given Dhuri the photographs and maps he had asked for in a subsequent appeal.
On November 18, 2013, Dhuri, who is also the secretary of the Bombay Fire Fighters Service Union (Mumbai) had filed the RTI to find out the status of the Byculla workshop. He received a reply on December 11 the same year, stating that the construction had been completed in 2011.
“I had asked for things like when the permission for construction was given, when the actual construction work was started, what was the amount sanctioned and how much had been spent until then. I had even asked whether the construction work had been stopped and, if yes, why.
However, the BMC, in its reply to my RTI, stated that the work had not been stopped and had been completed as per the tender,” Dhuri told mid-day. The civic body’s reply stated that it had got permission to construct the workshop on March 5, 2008.
It had begun construction on April 1 the same year and the construction was completed on March 30, 2011. The RTI reply further stated that R14,47,05,560.26 (R14.47 crore) had been spent for the construction. Dhuri added, “How can the BMC provide false information in reply to the RTI query filed by me?
They told me that the building work was complete but hardly any work has been done. Later, I approached the appellate authority and said that, since they claimed the work was complete, they should give me a copy of the building’s map and photographs to prove it.
The appellate authority instructed the concerned department to give me the copy of the map and the photos, but I have not received any information till date. I have been running from pillar to post, but to no avail.”
Dhuri claims he has been following-up on the matter since December 2013 and has written at least 10 letters, but is yet to get any information. “Since no one is giving me the actual details, I have decided to take up the matter with our union’s president, Suryakant Mahadik, and BMC Additional Commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh,” he added.
The other side
While BMC city engineer Prakash Kadam was unavailable for comment, Deputy Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale said, “The work on the Byculla workshop has not been completed yet and we are soon going to restart the construction work and complete it at the earliest.”