BMC declares Praja Foundation persona non-grata: Project director says confident about data, will respond in week

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sent a letter to NGO Praja Foundation, stating that it has declared the organisation 'persona non grata', accusing it of having misinterpreted data on public health, a copy of which is with Firstpost.

FP Staff November 22, 2017 15:53:43 IST
BMC declares Praja Foundation persona non-grata: Project director says confident about data, will respond in week

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sent a letter to NGO Praja Foundation, stating that it has declared the organisation 'persona non grata', accusing it of having misinterpreted data on public health, a copy of which is with Firstpost.

In response, Milind Mhaske, the project director of Praja, said that if the civic body has data to counter the report published by the NGO, then it should come forward with it.

"The statistics that we have published in the report are based on data gathered through the Right to Information. We are very confident of our report, as these are the BMC's own numbers," Mhaske said.

Mhaske further asserts, "There is no provision under the Right to Information Act, 2005 to declare someone a 'persona non grata'. In fact, such a statement goes against the BMC's own principles of open data."

He said that the organisation will come out with a detailed response to the letter in a week.

In a report released on 12 July, Praja Foundation stated that there had been a 265 percent rise in dengue cases in Mumbai from April 2012 to March 2017.

Further, it stated that 32, 862 people died due to tuberculosis from April 2012 to March 2017.

However, defaulters from Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course (DOTS), the flagship government programme to tackle TB, saw an increase of 10 percent from January 2012 to December 2016, the organisation stated.

According to Praja's report, 18 people died every day on an average due to tuberculosis from April 2012 to March 2017.

The letter from the BMC on 20 November states that the default rate for TB was calculated on the basis of total cases in 2012, while it was calculated on the basis of new cases in 2016.

On the data on dengue, the BMC's letter states that the organisation did not consider whether the cases in question were suspected or confirmed.

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