The initiative of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to start an RTI library had received praise from different quarters in 2010,after it was inaugurated by Arvind Kejriwal the Delhi chief minister was then an RTI activist. The library was set up to provide easy availability of orders,decisions,proposals and reports of PMC on various issues. But three years down the line,there are few takers for it due to the failure of the civic administration to update from time to time the records in the library.
Named after former resident editor of The Indian Express,Pune,the late Prakash Kardaley,and located on the third floor of the PMCs main building,the library wears a deserted look. Going by the register in the library,there are hardly two to three visitors every day.
The poor response to the RTI library is due to the failure of the civic administration to update it on a regular basis. The idea was to make available latest documents on all civic proposals,decisions,orders and reports of PMC so that the citizens could have easy access and there would be fewer RTI applications. Nothing of this sort is happening, said civic activist Vivek Velankar.
The documents available in the library are old and of little use to the public, he said,adding that citizens still had to file applications with the respective departments for latest decisions and reports.
RTI library in-charge Sanjay More,however,said the library was updated on a regular basis. We appeal to all civic departments to give us latest documents to be put in the library. Everything that we get is kept in the library, he claimed.
However,the list of documents in the library mentions that the last update was done on October 22,2012,and before that on December 22,2011.
More admitted that there were some constraints in managing the library. The library is in an open place and there is fear of documents going missing or pages torn, he said. According to him,an employee is posted at the library but there is no one on duty after office hours,and also when the particular staffer takes break while on duty.
To ensure that no one takes the documents out of library,the PMC has tied them with chains so that those reading them cannot move the documents from their place.
Incidentally,the PMC did not make any budgetary provision for the library in 2013-14. It had spent Rs 6,48,930 in 2010-11,the year it was set up. Thereafter,it made a provision of Rs 50,000 once in 2012-13.