Mangaluru, July 16: A set of documents of slain RTI activist Vinayak Baliga which are accessed by the team of online investigative scribes reveal that Baliga's fight was not only against a popular education establishment, Sharadha Vidhyalaya, but he also took on other prominent colleges set up in the vicinity of Giridhar Rao road at Mangaluru.
According to a legal notice sent by a counsel of Vinayak Baliga who was murdered in the wee hours of March 21, activist also questioned colleges; Canara College, Besant School, Besant Evening College, Expert College, Boscos Institute. In a notice sent to the managers of CBOO Center and CBEU golden jubilee hall on November 19, 2012, it said due to these colleges, convention and marriage halls vehicular density has gone high and this has been causing trouble to the residents of Giridhar Rao road.
Both the halls to which notices were sent falls between Navabharat Circle and B G School junction. The road is less than 12 feet width. The motive of Baliga is not to attack convention halls or the colleges. His aim was to stop haphazard and unauthorised parking on a public road as these colleges and convention halls did not have exclusive parking pockets.
In the notice, it is categorically mentioned that, on October 1, 2012, a circular had been issued by the Deputy Commissioner (No E: Dis: RTA 370/2012-2012/88717(D3). A circular ordered not to park vehicles on the roadside. The notice further said no colleges and halls obeyed this order. The officers concerned did not bother to act against these as they exerted influence on the officers and traffic department.
The notice was served to CBOO Center and CBEU golden jubilee hall seeking to obey the law and create separate parking lots to avoid traffic snarls in the vicinity. This notice also mentions notices were sent to these colleges but to no avail.
Baliga's RTI battle to find solution
Scamming through a document reveal that MCC on September 9, 2012, in reply to the RTI filed by Baliga on July 31, 2012, said while issuing licences to fresh buildings it is ensured parking space is built in the buildings. The response further said, erratic parking on the roadsides of Giridhar Rao road by the users of Sharadha Vidhyalaya and other colleges, is a worry and police must take action against them.
Baliga to understand the parking system filed several RTIs. He filed RTI to Traffic West Police Station (Bunder) on September 9, 2012, asking has the Department sanctioned parking facility to Sharadha Vidhyalaya to park vehicles on Giridhar Rao road. The department said information has been sought from the MCC (Mangaluru City Corporation).
He then asked, has the department collecting Batta/service charges from this school for deploying three traffic personnel to control the traffic on the road. The department said it has not deployed any personnel on the road exclusively. The personnel were placed at Navabharat Circle. But when vehicle density at Giridhar Rao road increases personnel move to that place to control the traffic.
In another RTI query which he filed to MCC on October 10, 2012, the MCC said "we have not given licence to schools which, does not have parking lots. Baliga asked details about licences given to schools and colleges having no parking facilities.
Did any actions have been taken on colleges that violated parking norm? For this question, MCC said it does not come under their ambit. Baliga meant colleges are Sharadha Vidhyalaya, Canara College, Besant school, Besant evening College, Expert College.
For details sought through another RTI filed with the Revenue Department, it said the department has not sanctioned permission to any to park on roadsides between Navabharat Circle and P V S Kalakunja.
However Regional Transport Office on asked about action executed on traffic violators, it sent detailed 'minutes of meeting', of road safety committee. The RTI to RTO was filed on November 31, 2012.
A strong letter by Baliga reveals he was fighting against 4 other colleges
A letter he wrote on October 10, 2013 ,and sent to Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada, Fire office, Mangaluru Police Commissioner and Regional Transport Officer gives a picture of his fight.
He wanted to clear Giridhar Rao road for the dwellers. The letter was technically written by the residents living beside the road. In the letter, he mentioned the names of five colleges and strength of students.
Sharadha Vidhyalaya- 3200 students
Expert College- 1000 students
Besant Group of Institutes- 1000 students
Canara Group of Institutes- 1000 students
Boscos Institute- 1000 students
He also mentioned there are three auditoriums and marriage halls. These are causing traffic disruption and troubling the residents. He urged all authorities to clear the road for the dwellers.
Sharadha Vidhyalaya's anomalies
Particularly in Sharadha Vidhyalaya during his fight to resolve traffic issue, he found extra space being illegally built as against the permission granted by the MCC. The sanctioned space to erect the building 970.56 Square Meters but the building has come up in 2015.04 Square Meters.
Baliga filed a complaint in MCC and now the case is pending in the MCC. It has to be recalled the hearing of this complaint was scheduled to March 24, 2016, but Baliga was murdered on March 21.
M B Puranik, Correspondent of Sharadha Vidhyalaya speaking to OneIndia said his institution was unfairly targeted by the vested interests. "If you do a survey in Mangaluru you will find as many as 1000 buildings deviating from the original blueprint submitted to the MCC."
In fact, Baliga had told that he would withdraw a complaint filed against Sharadha if the institution managed to provide parking inside the school. "Baliga was a harmless man. He was fighting for the cause. He had no grudge against me and so do I," Puranik informed.
Puranik alleged that a few people even tried to frame him in Baliga murder case but they could not as he had absolutely nothing to do with his murder. "I am not saying there are no anomalies in our building but not to the extent of other defaulters. The MCC is waiting for Akrama-Sakrama norms to get finalised to decide on Sharadha Vidhyalaya."