In a month's time, the city will get five new residents forums which will help focus on civic issues and keep BMC officials on their toes. More than 150 activists, who have vowed to do concrete work for the betterment of the city, attended the first round of training on Thursday.
Charmaine and Raymond Sequeira, an activist couple from Kalina, took the initiative to bring together several activists from Kalina, Vakola, Prabhat Nagar, Kapadia Nagar, Kurla and CST areas to understand the formation of residents' associations and Advance Locality Management (ALM).
Charmaine, an IT professional working for a French MNC, said that lots of people want to work but don't know how to go about it. "Most of them don't know what to do or whom to approach when they have taken up some civic issue. They don't know how effective is the tool of RTI and how the common man can make the civic authorities accountable," said Charmaine.
She added that the aim of the meeting was to sensitise people and explain what ALM is all about and how it functions. "It is important for each one of us to know what role ALM members can play, understand case studies which could guide us and share experiences of RTI activists," said Charmaine.
There was an address by Sanjay Pandey, Inspector General (Maharashtra Human Rights Commission), followed by detailed explanation on RTI by Gaurang Vora. ALM members from H-West Aftab Siddique and Heena Shroff gave case studies and examples of their work.
Anita Shetty, social worker from Kurla, said she had been doing social work since 1993 and had been working in and around Kurla. Shetty said nowadays people have become more aware of their rights and want to bring about change in their residential areas. They want accountability from government authorities.
"If we all come under one roof and on a single platform, we can bring about lots of changes in the system. Now people have come together. We still need to bring a lot of awareness. Though it's in the formative stage, we want to consolidate our efforts. Kurla is known as a notorious ward where lots of illegal activities are taking place. We have to change that tag," Shetty added.