The power of RTI: a good example

Here is a wonderful example (article from TOI Bangalore) of how we can use Right to information to figure things that we could not have earlier . RTI is great, a very powerful weapon in our hands. Sooner or later, its use will change the way we are "governed". And note the last line of this article – once we figure something is up, there is no easy way to seek justice or punishment for offenders. That is one problem that – in my opinion – limits use of RTI. Thats because we all know it takes ages to get justice from courts. If information obtained via RTI could be used for filing local PILs, and that too in special local courts – think a special public-greivance courts, like consumer courts – we can really clean out corruption from local governance systems. Anyway, here are the snippets from this story: BMP pats, pays for road not done

Bangalore: It happens only in Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. Paying Rs 10 lakh to a contractor for a road not asphalted! And patting him too for “satisfactory execution of work”.

The case in point is a perfectly good Rama Iyengar Road … in South Bangalore. But BMP prepared an impressive sounding detailed estimate … at a cost of Rs 10,76,808.

The road has not seen any asphalting. But the contractor was paid his dues. This fraud came to light thanks to S R Venkataram, president of residents’ welfare association, Suprajaa. " … I asked for … estimate, tender rates and copy of the duplicate bill. I was shocked when the papers claimed that this road has been asphalted for Rs 10 lakh. What is happening to the tax-payers’ money?’’

… The contractor has been paid Rs 10,67,808 vide cheque No. 037508.

Venkataram has forwarded all the documents to the Lok Ayukta.

Bravo! May we all follow Mr Venkataram's example and ensure our taxes dont go waste.

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