Ex-CIC moves state information panel against Metro operatorhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/ex-cic-moves-state-information-panel-against-metro-operator/

Ex-CIC moves state information panel against Metro operator

Shailesh Gandhi says was denied info on safety reports by Railways.

Former chief information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi has filed a complaint with the State Information Commission alleging that the Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) refused to provide him with copies of inspection reports of the Metro line as given by the Commissioner of Railway Safety he had sought under the RTI (Right to Information) Act.

The state government holds a 26 per cent stake in the MMOPL and has provided funds for the construction of the city’s first Metro.

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In reply to Gandhi’s letter date December 1, 2014, seeking the information, the MMOPL, in which the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is a stakeholder, said, “You are advised that the information requested by you viz copy of CMRS inspection report is available with MMRDA, which is the appropriate public authority. Accordingly, the information requested by you can be obtained from the office of MMRDA from the concerned officials dealing with such applications.”

Gandhi then filed a complaint with the State Information Commission, arguing that the MMOPL has government control and substantial funding with three of the eight board directors being public servants, and MMRDA directors having a veto right in specified matters.

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“Besides, over Rs 500 crore has been provided in the garb of viability gap funding and Rs 133 crore to get an equity of 26 per cent in MMOPL. Against this, Reliance has invested Rs 353 crore for a 69 per cent stake and Veolia has put in Rs 26 crore for a 5 per cent stake,” Gandhi said, adding that the MMOPL is disregarding RTI by refusing to accept its obligations as a public authority.

An MMOPL spokesperson said, “We shall be sharing all information as per the applicable law. In this regard, the matter is pending before the Information Commissioner.”

He added that the the completed project cost is about Rs 4,000 crore of which the MMOPL and its lenders has provided for Rs 3,300 crore, with the increase in cost having been solely funded by MMOPL without falling back on the MMRDA or the state government. The next date of hearing is March 4.

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