RTI — Inspection of Public Works

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The RTI Act enables you to carry out an inspection of public works viz. Water hole, fire line, check dam, EPT, Solar fence etc. You can get these measured by a Chartered Engineer and even collect samples of the material for testing. You cannot be denied this right under the pretext that “it is in the core/critical tiger habitat” etc. Please see Section2 (j) (i) & (iii) and Section 3 of the RTI Act.… Read More

File Inspection under RTI

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One can carry out an inspection of Government ‘Records’ (files) under the RTI Act. This will provide extremely useful information recorded in file notings, inspection reports, pending complaints and other documents. Use the same application form to seek inspection of records. Rule 4(f) specifies that the fee chargeable for inspection of files would be Rs 5/hour after the first hour, which is free. After inspection you can seek certified copies of documents.… Read More

Filing RTIs

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When you file an RTI, always apply for a ‘Certified Copy’. Obtaining a Certified Copy will be very useful, particularly when you have to file it in court or need to release it to the media. The document will be perceived as authentic. So, the next time you approach the Public Information Officer (PIO) please make sure you mention ‘Certified Copy’ (instead of just “Copy”) of the letter/document etc. in column no. 3 of the RTI form. Click here for Read More

Q: How can I stop a tourism-centric hotel project being planned in the heart of a wildlife sanctuary by a State Tourism Department together with the Forest department? The project is in its early planning stage.

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Answer from Praveen Bhargav, Trustee, Wildlife First:

  • The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA) makes no distinction between a private and a government tourism company. So a State Tourism department is not exempted from the provisions of the WLPA. (Link to the Wildlife Protection Act).
  • Section 29 of the WLPA prohibits any kind of destruction or diversion of habitat within a Sanctuary without a permit and no such permit shall be granted unless it is for the improvement of
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RTI Response from Environment Ministry Indicates Nearly 200 Tigers Poached in the Last 12 Years

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An RTI application filed with the Ministry of Environment and Forests reveals that 197 tigers were killed through poaching between 1999 and 2011. The ministry also attributed the local extinction of tigers in Sariska and Panna to poaching. The worst years were 2001 and 2002, where 36 tigers were poached in each year. Two tigers have been poached already this year between January and March 17th. The ministry has not provided details of the action taken report for each case, … Read More

Using RTI for Wildlife Conservation

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Excerpts from a presentation given by Biswajit Mohanty in Bangalore on 23rd August 2013. You can reach him for questions or comments at kachhapa@gmail.com.

What is Government?

This is a difficult question for an ordinary Indian citizen. He/she knows that Government is an omnipotent and omnipresent entity but is not exactly sure who “Government” is. When you want something from any government office, you will frequently hear the words … “Government will decide”. If there are dues/taxes to be … Read More

Illegal laterite mining threatens Sagar forests

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Rampant and illegal laterite mining is reported from the Sagar Taluk in Shimoga, Karnataka. An RTI application with the Department of Mines and Geology reveals that permission has been accorded to mine only one and half acres across three villages. However, there are 200 illegal quarries reported in the Sagar Taluk operating on one hundred acres of land. Almost 50 truckloads of laterite blocks leave the Sagar Taluk on a daily basis. Most quarries are said to operate in forest … Read More

Illegal Windmills Operating in Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra

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Koyna sanctuary, a part of Sahyadri Tiger Reserve has about 200 windmills operating within the sanctuary boundaries. Around 500 trees have been estimated to have been chopped up for this purpose. Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) activist Nana Khamkar says that 250 endangered species of birds are found in the sanctuary and since the windmills have come, the birds have not been seen. An RTI application sent to the Forest Department has shown that the windmills have been setup without … Read More

Right to Information (RTI) — a Powerful Tool for Wildlife Conservation

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RTI stands for Right To Information and has been given the status of a fundamental right under Article 19(1) of the Constitution. Article 19 (1) under which every citizen has freedom of speech and expression and the right to know how the government works, the role it plays, its functions, and so on. This empowers any citizen to demand access to government files and after scrutinizing the files obtain certified copies of the letters, documents, file notings etc. Another important … Read More