Praja is persona non grata for BMC

Bone of contention: Praja Foundation’s Milind Mhaske (centre) displaying the report in question on July 12. File   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has declared Praja Foundation persona non grata, saying that the NGO has misinterpreted and misrepresented healthcare data.

On Monday, the BMC executive health officer sent a letter to the NGO, saying the organisation did not have basic knowledge of the national health programmes.

Praja Foundation defines itself as a non-partisan organisation. Since 2009, it has been publishing reports on various matters of public interest, such as state policing, law and order, municipal education and health, and the working of ward committees.

Most of the reports exposed the sad state of affairs, and the civic body has been questioning them for some time now.

The letter, sent to the NGO’s founder and managing trustee Nital Mehta, referred to a report published by the foundation on July 12. “The data collected by you under RTI Act from various public information officers of the public health department was used for the purpose of publication with the mala fide intention to malign the public body and mislead citizens at large,” Shantaram Naik, the BMC executive health officer in charge, said.

The letter says Praja’s analysis of the data on tuberculosis and dengue in that report was misleading and had inflated the numbers. It said the NGO had failed to consult any of the national health programme officers and prepared the report without understanding the scientific method of analysis. “Hence, in view of all above, the MCGM has declared your organisation Praja Foundation, its representatives and employees as persona non grata,” Mr. Naik said.

Milind Mhaske, project director of Praja Foundation, said he was surprised by the letter. “A similar letter was sent to us after our report on July 12, and we replied to it in detail. We will be replying to this letter in a week’s time,” said Mr. Mhaske, and added that the data they used is obtained from the BMC, and there is no scope for it to be misinterpreted.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 1:48:27 AM |

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