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1.66 lakh fine on 19 officials

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 22: The state information commission has imposed a penalty of Rs 1,66,000 on 19 government officials for their failure in providing information to the applicants within the stipulated time frame.

Speaking about this at the Assembly, information and public relations minister Debasis Nayak said a penalty amount to the tune of Rs 36,250 had been recovered from four erring officials.

The highest amount of Rs 25,000 was recovered from Sivananda Seth, the assistant engineer (estimator)-cum public information officer of Kalahandi minor irrigation division, Bhawanipatna.

Similarly, Rs 6,000 was realised from Bangali Charan Tarai, a retired official and former section officer of state higher education department.

Surendra Mohapatra, another former section officer of the same department, coughed off a penalty of Rs 5,000.

However, Rohit Kumar Bhoi, the public information officer of district industries centre, had to pay a nominal fine of Rs 250.

Prominent among the erring officers on whom penalty was imposed but not realised yet, include Manoj Kumar Patnaik, the secretary of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation; M.M. Rath, the secretary of Orissa Khadi and Village Indus- tries Board; Gagan Bihari Mohanty, the assistant conservator of forest-cum-public information officer in the divisional forest office of Parlakhemundi and Basant Kumar Behera, the former district panchayat officer in Jajpur.

Most of the other penalised officials were in the rank of section officer, senior assistant, junior assistant and dealing assistant.

The minister said 2,453 complaint cases and 574 second appeal cases have been filed before the information commission since its inception till October 31, 2007.

Of these, 576 complaint cases and 243 second appeal cases have been disposed off, he said.

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