The Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) appears to have caught itself in a controversy after it refused to reply to an RTI regarding the construction of flyovers in the city. This comes after the same body had filed a reply to a similar RTI posing questions on the flyover in Hebbal.
Ever since the Right to Information (RTI) came into existence in 2005, government officials have had their task cut out in replying questions posed by activists. Often, government officials are accused of dodging the questions referring to technicalities.
The double standards of the BDA were highlighted by the Namma Bengaluru Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in Bengaluru when one of its senior staff members Lakshmikantha filed two RTIs to the BDA seeking information on flyovers.
"We filed two RTIs on the same day to the same agency. Both RTIs were from the same person and requested details of the construction of flyovers. One of the RTIs received a response from the BDA but in the other RTI, they responded saying we cannot give answers to any organisation,” Suresh NR, member of the NBF, said.
In one of the RTIs, the NBF questioned the status of the Hebbal flyover and asked whether there is a safety issue. The BDA responded by attaching a press release which allayed any fears of safety threats surrounding the construction of the flyover. "There is no threat to the safety of the structure and reports regarding the crack is a construction joint where multiple arms consisting of precast segments linked to cast in situ concrete.BDA has initiated action to ensure complete drainage of water by having a dedicated pipeline connecting to Raja Kaluve of Hebbal tank waste weir," the release reads.
However, another question posed by the NBF asking details of all flyovers constructed by the body and the status of each infrastructure elicited a starkly different response. "They are trying to divert the question. They don’t have answers to our questions on the structures constructed," added Suresh.
The RTIs come at a time the state government is planning the construction of six steel flyovers at the cost of Rs 19,000 crore and requiring the chopping of over 3,000 trees.