Meghalaya top data provider

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Shilong
  • Published 29.10.09
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Shillong, Oct. 29: Meghalaya has topped the list of states and the Centre in providing information through the Right to Information Act, according to information commissioner G.P. Wahlang. He launched the Meghalaya Right to Information website today.

Wahlang quoted the major findings on the implementation of the RTI Act, 2008, presented during the national convention held in New Delhi in mid-October.

The Central Information Commission organised the convention.

Wahlang said here today that Meghalaya, with a success rate of 82 per cent, ranked first in providing information, followed by the Centre with 81 per cent.

The success rates decreased to nearly 29 per cent in the case of Karnataka and 23 per cent in Assam.

While Maharashtra has 16,000 pending cases, the Central Information Commission has 7,000.

Meghalaya, however, had only three pending cases. According to Wahlang, the penalty imposed in cases deposed by the Commissions was as high as 83.3 per cent in case of Nagaland, 28.1 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh and in Meghalaya, it stood at 4.4 per cent.

Among the success stories is one where the residents of Katarshnong near Cherrapunjee used the RTI Act to find whether the schemes meant for them were properly implemented.

The use of RTI was at its peak prior to the Assembly elections to probe the misuse of funds for projects by the legislators.

The residents of Nongstoin in West Khasi Hills also used the RTI Act effectively.

Wahlang cited several cases where punishment was meted out to RTI officials who refused to provide information within 30 days.

The penalised officials had to pay a fine of Rs 250 per day.

An executive engineer of the PHE department in the Garo hills paid more than Rs 15,000 for rejecting an RTI query by a group of contractors who failed to get their dues for work done for the department.

The official went to the extent of asking the applicants to withdraw the RTI application.

The official eventually had to pay a fine of Rs 15,000.

After the starting of Meghalaya Information Commission in 2006, there were 300 requests to provide information.

In 2007, there were 48 complaints regarding the delay in providing information and of these, fines were imposed on two officials who refused to co-operate.

From 2008 to this day, seven officials were penalised for not providing information in time.