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Information rush after showcause - Workshop on RTI Act

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 29.12.06
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Dec. 29: Information delayed may not be information denied to the citizens of Dhubri, after all.

The district administration organised a workshop yesterday to “inform” officialdom, the media and the public about the Right to Information Act.

Officers, journalists and members of NGOs participated in the workshop, conducted by election officer Animesh Talukdar and additional deputy commissioner Ranjeet Kalita at the District Rural Development Agency’s conference hall.

Talukdar explained the act in detail and answered questions from the participants.

Sources said it took a showcause notice from former legislator Ali Akbar Miah for the district administration to realise that it must implement the Right to Information Act.

Miah, who had been denied access to information regarding the implementation of rural development schemes in the district, immediately petitioned chief information commissioner Bhaskar Mushahary.

The latter wrote to the district administration to furnish the required information.

Speaking at the workshop, Talukdar harped on the fact that all citizens now have the right to information, which includes any information in any form of records, documents, emails, circulars, press releases, contracts, samples or electronic data.

He said the Right to Information Act also facilitates inspection of work undertaken by any government department.

Any person seeking information must submit an application with a fee of Rs 10 to the public information officer. The fee is waived for people below the poverty line.

It is mandatory for the department concerned to furnish all information to the applicant within 30 days.

A person also has the liberty to seek information from the first appellate authority or the assistant public information officer.

If he or she goes for these options, information sought by the person will be provided within 45 days and 35 days respectively.

Deputy commissioner Ganesh Chandra Kalita stressed the importance of implementing the act “in letter and spirit” and sought everybody’s co-operation.

Mohammadul Hoque, secretary of the Krishi Bikash Samiti, said most people were unaware of schemes being implemented by the government.

“Leave alone the man on the street, even our NGO is also unable to get information from various departments. The act should be implemented strictly for the people to know what is in store for them,” Hoque said.

He also appealed to all government departments that implement development schemes to display information on schemes and funding agencies in their offices.