Activist receives reply to RTI question eight years later

An activist has lastly acquired a half-hearted response to an RTI question he made eight years in the past. This has put the highlight on woeful implementation of the Proper To Info Act in Odisha.

Bimal Pandia, a water proper activist, utilized for info on-line beneath the RTI Act on September 24, 2015.

In his request to the Engineer-in-chief of Rural Water Provide and Sanitation (RWSS), Mr. Pandia had submitted six completely different questions concerning the standing of piped water provide within the State. For the advantage of mentioned authorities officer, he connected three completely different official orders issued on completely different dates.

Eight years too late

“I used to be anticipating a speedy reply as I had supplied authorities letters for reference. I didn’t get any response for years at the same time as piped water provide programmes had been carried out in all districts. On August 21, 2023 I acquired a replica of the letter despatched by the statistical investigator and public info officer of RWSS, who requested the RWSS superintending engineer to provide info to me,” he mentioned.

“The replies I used to be anticipating in 2015 aren’t any use to me in 2023. It’s a crude joke that the PIO of a division moved to provide info eight years after submission of the RTI software. Sarcastically, the knowledge is within the assortment stage.”

There may be large discontentment amongst activists and most of the people over frequent delays and denial of entry to info beneath RTI Act.

“Final 12 months, I requested a easy query on the quantity of water getting into Hirakud Reservoir in Sambalpur. The data is definitely available in engineers computer systems. Nonetheless, I’ve been made to attend one 12 months for the knowledge. After I appealed, authorities have been requested to provide the knowledge. It’s but to land in my inbox,” mentioned Mr. Pandia.

Authorities evasive

Pradip Pradhan, convenor of Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan (OSSA), a discussion board of RTI activists, mentioned, “Almost about the controversy surrounding the Ratna Bhandar, the treasury of Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha authorities mentioned the file on the Ratna Bhandar was untraceable. When individuals started asking questions, the federal government mentioned the file had been traced. I filed an RTI question in search of to understand how the file was misplaced and who discovered it. I’ve not acquired a reply.”

Mr. Pradhan alleged authorities departments had been intentionally avoiding answering queries that might put the State authorities in an uncomfortable place. “At floor degree, info seekers are incessantly attacked if the question seeks information on corruption in execution of welfare programmes,” he mentioned.

The Odisha Info Fee web site says on 1729 completely different cases, penalties have been imposed on authorities officers for denial and delay in provide of data, the listing of individuals denied info is lengthy. The web site’s info sheet on 12 months clever receipt and disposal of circumstances exhibits errors.

“If one recordsdata a grievance in search of penalty on this PIO it would take years to be heard by Odisha Info Fee. And there may be little likelihood he might be penalised. The RTI Act has been destroyed in our State,” mentioned Biswajit Mohanty, a daily info seeker.

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