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RTI activist complains to Information Commission about BBMP

KIC ordered the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike to send the data on its Kensington Swimming Pool to the petitioner within 30 days.

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An RTI activist's efforts to gain information on a neighbourhood swimming pool are making some progress.

After four hearings, the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) has ordered the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to set its papers right and send the data on its Kensington Swimming Pool to the petitioner within 30 days.

If the Palike fails to comply, KIC will slap a fine on the executive engineer and the public information officer.

After four years, RTI activist P Kalidas Reddy is frustrated to find that the BBMP is still unable to provide information on matters like memorandum of understanding or lease agreement pertaining to the pool. "I live in this neighbourhood and I learnt swimming in this pool. But for three years, it remained closed for public and we wanted to know why," said RTI activist P Kalidas Reddy.

Under RTI, Reddy had in 2008 sought some details on the pool. "I got to know that the pool was given on lease to the department of youth services. I got other relevant documents too. But then I found that the lease agreement with the department of youth services had expired in 2004," he said.

"The pool was renovated using state-of-the-art equipment … by the department of youth services," he said.

The department of youth services had plans of setting up a coffee shop on the first floor of the pool building.

"But we objected to this idea since women have different timings and they would not feel comfortable when people are sitting in the coffee shop watching them swim. This plan was finally dropped," he said. Curious to know who owned the pool now, Reddy filed another RTI seeking information on papers related to the pool.

"Since the lease period had expired and the BBMP had taken over the pool, they owned the property. But when I asked for relevant documents in 2009, they failed to provide me any documents relating to the pool," he said. Four hearings by KIC have taken place till date. Still, the BBMP has failed to give any details on the pool.

Even after making many rounds to the BBMP, Reddy was unable to receive any information he asked for.This file photo from 2009 shows the Kensington swimming pool in Ulsoor in a dilapidated state.

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