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VIJAY KUMBHAR

When I moved to Pune in the 80s, my journey in journalism began with writing on a wide range of topics from politics, to industrial relations, to cinema; I eventually began to undertake investigative journalism, acting on complaints by citizens. From filing the PIL against the then CM Manohar Joshi’s son-in-law for the misuse of government land that eventually led to his resignation; to recently exposing the downside of unbridled capitalism through a series that showed how the asymmetry in socio-economic power between big businessmen and the common man was making the latter vulnerable and helpless. This led to the building of cases and the eventual arrest of Pune-based builder DS Kulkarni, which may result in investors getting their rightful dues.


At a time when the mainstream media is reluctant to expose such an influential businessman, I have been able to bring this information

 

in the public domain through my blog. Through PIL, I have also managed to challenge unauthorized land allocation at throwaway prices by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) in High Court. Which eventually lead to guidelines issued to formulate a land allocation policy, and today no land is allotted within the city without a tender.


I have written a book titled ‘Pailu Mahitichya Aadhikarache’ with an aim to make it simpler for the common man to use this law as a potent tool for realizing his rights. The book has been prescribed in the Mumbai University syllabus. Another initiative taken to popularize the law is ‘RTI Katta’, a weekly gathering of citizens at a garden located in Pune. At the RTI Katta, I never give answers to people’s RTI queries, and instead, aim at helping them find the answers themselves by training them to ask questions. Like it is rightly said, it is better to teach a man to fish, rather than giving him fish. Citizen empowerment and proactiveness is at the heart of the solution. 


Realizing the need to get this information to people through outlets other than mainstream media, and recognizing the importance of the ‘New Media’ i.e. social media and the Internet, I started my own blogs: vijaykumbhar.blogspot.in and vijaykumbhar-marathi.blogspot.in. Over the years it has achieved credibility and a level of trust among the public. 
 
Being in the field of journalism and social activities for more than 30 years I realised that there are so many pro-people rules and regulation available for the common citizens.
However, lawbreakers put lots of obstacles and the implementation of these rules and regulation becomes a hassle. Be it The Right to Information Act, The Real Estate act or Right to Services Act. Most of the citizens also don’t know or don’t dare use these regulations. The basic object of this portal is to help people help themselves.