The 11th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP 11) was recently held in Hyderabad. The Government of AP spent a lot of money on the preparations for this international meeting. Different departments were involved in the works undertaken for the conference. Some of us who have been working on RTI for a while were concerned with the quality of the works being undertaken and decided to use RTI to find out details of works and the amounts spent. Some of us from United Forum for RTI Campaign (UFRTI) and Its Time to Make a Difference (ITMD) got together and took up the work of filing RTI applications with various departments. We also called for volunteers who are interested in taking this forward. A Facebook group was created for the purpose. We filed RTI applications with 22 different departments (both central and state). We received information from a few of them. In the attached pages, we are disclosing some of the information we received from various departments. There were many allegations with regards to the amounts spent on various works. We could see lot of misuse of funds and diversion of funds. Hence we demand the government to conduct a full-fledged enquiry and audit of the works taken up for COP-11. The following are our major demands
– Government should immediately release a white paper on the works and expenditure of COP-11
– Every department involved in COP-11 works should put the details of works and funds on their website in the interest of transparency and accountability as per the RTI act.
– Government should immediately constitute an independent enquiry committee to look into the funds spent and works taken up for COP-11 and take punitive action on those found guilty.
A total of 273.49 crore rupees was released for COP related works with GHMC getting 125 crores and police getting 69.13 crores. A total of 12 departments received these amounts.
– The amount given to police included amounts to the intelligence branch and the city police.
– 1.25 crores were given to illumination of heritage buildings.
– 5 crore rupees were given to tourism for promotion
Note about I & PR: Budget released to I & PR was for advertisements in print & electronic media, outdoor publicity etc. It was actually surprising to see bill boards welcoming delegates for COP-11 as far as in Warangal and interiors of Warangal. One does not understand why such bill boards were necessary in districts when the event had nothing to do with the districts. Is that a way of making easy money?
The department which was allotted the highest budget and spent the greatest amount of funds during COP-11 is GHMC. But there was very little transparency in the way these funds were utilized. When we sought information regarding the works taken up by GHMC through RTI act, the response was poor. The only reason for such a poor reason must be that funds were either diverted or misused.If GHMC has nothing to hide and if the funds were properly utilized, why are they shying away from making a full disclosure about the funds spent on their website? Why are they not responding to RTI queries concerning works taken up with hundreds of crores?
GHMC Claims 88 works were taken up by Urban Forestry and Horticulture wing of GHMC during COP-11. But in reality, they have done more than 170+ works.
Why is GHMC not revealing the details of other works? They have done works like recarpeting roads, repairs, formation of footpath, drain works, painting, lane marking, and repairs to fountains and erection of signage, but the information is not made public till date.
When we sought information through RTI act, they were evasive for most of the questions asked. Their answers included
1. Copies enclosed (But copies missing with the RTI reply, i.e they did not enclose any copy)
2. Information not available in this office. Since this office is not the concerned for maintaining the Information.
The office of the DGP has refused to provide information, saying the questions asked were not specific which is nothing but a blatant lie. The police department spent around 70 crore rupees and they are refusing to be accountable and transparent.
Read the full press release here: