Posts Tagged ‘Helpline’

To celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, the Ahmedabad-based Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP) announced its plans to pioneer an effort to protect RTI applicants against any perceived or real threat. It added a service in its ‘whistleblower’ helpline for the RTI users.

The MAGP helplines: +919924085000 and 07926821553 (fax) will now take details of the applications, nature of threats and addresses from such applicants and forward them, along with a complaint, to the concerned Police Station, the Superintendent of Police, the District Collector and the State Information Commission.

MAGP Coordinator, Pankti Jog, expressed her concern over the activists being threatened and harassed in Gujarat. She said that the move is partly due to the murder of seven RTI activists across the country. Also, RTI users have to face oppositions from both the Government departments and anti-social elements that go to any extent to force applicants to withdraw their applications. Another concern is the limited awareness among the rural areas of Gujarat about RTI.

The helpline was launched on 11th May, 2006 and has not stopped ringing since then! Till date, it claims to have received 58,307 calls from both within and outside Gujarat. MAGP claimed that 75% of these calls were made by citizens, a little less than a quarter by Government officials, PIOs (11%), retired Government officers curious about their retirement dues (7%), deemed PIOs (5%) and other Government officers (2%). The statistics also mention that information on land entitlements contributed to the maximum (14%) of the calls, followed by retirement dues (10%) and development work (8%).The helpline was flooded with calls on the financial and performance details of trusts and NGOs.

This move is commendable as RTI in Gujarat is being strangled deliberately and getting weaker at various levels of governance.

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Paldi resident calls up AMC’s 24-hour control room and sees his ‘filthy’ locality cleaned up within hours

A tractor scrapes the sides of a road to clean it of dirt

Heaps of garbage, weeds and dirt littering the sidewalks were a common sight in this locality till Tuesday. That’s the day residents of Faiz Muhammad Society read the report on AMC’s 24×7 cleanliness helpline in the Ahmedabad Mirror, and decided to give it a try. Doubtful it will work, they made the call. And were happily surprised to see the AMC promptly take up their complaint and clean up the area within hours.
The decision to set up a round-the-clock control room was taken at an emergency meeting called by Municipal Commissioner I P Gautam on Monday, to intensify and strengthen the Corporation’s efforts to keep the city clean.

Ahmedabad Mirror’s cleanliness campaign motivated Farid Khan Pathan, a resident of Faizan Apartments in Faiz Muhammad Society, to call up the control room for help in cleaning up his vicinity. He placed his call around 11 am. Divyank Oza, deputy health officer of the West Zone, ensured he would send sanitation workers to clean up the area in Paldi by 5 pm.

“I had little faith that anything good will come out of the call. But guess what? I was so glad to be wrong when the AMC guys pulled up in the locality,” said Farid.

Lalubhai Chauhan came with his team and got the filth removed immediately. A day after the complaint was lodged, the weeds and other dirt along side the boundaries were also neatly pulled out by AMC tractors.

“I have never witnessed the civic body function so effectively. I now ask other Amdavadis to come forward and keep aapnu Amdavad clean. I believe there are many residents who are ready to take up Christina’s challenge,” Farid added.

Another neighbour, who saw the clean-up, said: “I was amazed to see the whole process. We had got so used to seeing the filth. We never thought anything would be done about it. But the cleanliness campaign has brought about a change in everyone’s attitude. The civic body has cleaned up its act, now it is up to us to support them by keeping the surrounding clean.”

“I appreciate the efforts of the civic body in cleaning up the area. Right now the area looks marvellous, compared to how it looked a couple of days ago thanks to the Ahmedabad Mirror report and the positive response of the AMC,” said another neighbour.

The control room has received more than 170 calls in the past two days, and the phones are still ringing. Health Committee chairman Praful Raval said, “The initiative is meant to resolve civic problems fast. I have taken the pledge to clean up my city as part of the Swarnim Gujarat project. If each and every Amdavadi takes up this responsibility and keep the city as clean as they keep their houses, this dream will smoothly become a reality.”

For those who think we cannot keep our city clean, we say — yes, we can! Participate and keep our city clean. You can call up the landline numbers: 25353858/3717, 32982458 or 25391811 (Extension: 718/719/557) and your complaints will be taken up immediately.

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