"Zero". This is the amount of information an environment activist received on his nine pointer query he submitted to Ghaziabad Development Authority under Right To Information Act two months back.
Vikrant Sharma, Raj Nagar Extension based environment activist had filed an RTI consisting queries in July.
Out of nine questions, only five were responded by the Public Relation Officer. The strange point here is, the response of the RTI did not divulge details of the basic question that the RTI activist enquires through query no. 1 - "How many societies exist in Raj Nagar Extension?"
Besides, the other three queries- What are the provision for areas dedicated to green cover in housing societies?; What are the rules in GDA regarding plantation of trees having the ability to grow and If there are any such rules, kindly provide?- were not entertained in the response to the RTI.
Surprisingly, as per building bylaws, 50 shade-giving trees are required to be planted per hectare in group housing projects. While this information is on public, the Public Information Officer seems to be unaware of this fact or filed response without going through it.
The RTI raised pertinent questions related to the green cover, details of the rules formed regarding plantation of trees having the ability to grow and details of penalty in case this is not followed.
On query no. 5- In housing societies of Raj Nagar Extension where completion certificate have already been issued, how many growing trees were found during inspections by GDA? To this RTI responded that the information raised by the activist is not found in the records of Zone I.
On a query no. 6- If a builder removes the trees he had planted while obtaining completion certificate then as per rules what actions could be taken again against him", the RTI response states that information seeked in this regard is subject to consultation and is not liable under section 4(2) of RTI Act 2015.
While for query no. 7 and 8, the RTI responded the same reply as stated for query no. 6. For query no. 9, the RTI response came as same to query no. 5.
While the responses raise serious questions on how seriously the authority deals with RTI queries demanded by the public, what more troublesome is that there is no explanation given in the response for not providing information for the four queries.
A month back, GDA had informed through media that a survey for assessing the green cover of the housing societies would start soon. An ultimatum of 14 days was given to builders to comply with building bylaws in regard to plantation and green cover. The builders were warned that layout plans for their project would be cancelled if they fail to comply with the norms.
"This was just an eyewash", commented Sharma.
CitySpidey reached out to Kanchan Verma, Vice-Chairperson of GDA, for her reaction but she did not comment on the story till the time of publishing. The story will be updated after receiving her response.