Friday, September 3, 2010

Repeated RTI appeals by 5th Pillar finally yields results

Mr. Hari krishnan S/O Rajamanickam , Puliyanthurai village, Kollidam (PO) , Sirkali T K Nagapattinam Dist is a member of our organization who filed a petition under RTI Act(under our guidance) with the Puliyanthuri Panchyat seeking certain information regarding income and expenditure of the panchayat, like details of drinking water pumps provided to the village, details of ENREGA programme implemented in the village, single light scheme to households etc ., for four years from 2006 to 2009. The RTI was filed on 16.12.2009. Since there was no reply from the PIO within the stipulated time of 30 days first appeal to the appellate authority(District collector) was sent on 04.02.2010. There was no reply for the same even after the lapse of 30 days, hence preferred a second appeal to the State information commission on 17.03.2010. Reminders were sent to the commission to expedite the reply on 18.05.2010 and 04.08.2010.
Surprisingly a reply was received from the President of the Puliyanthurai Panchyat on 05.07.210, informing that the complainant can visit the Panchayat office any time and verify the records since it involves huge expenses for sending the details called for. The same reply was given for all 21 questions raised. Instead of visiting the Panchayat office, foreseeing the problems he has to face in verifying the records the complainant requested them to inform the amount of fees to be paid for getting the information and records . Received a letter on 05.08.2010 asking him to pay Rs16890/-. When he approached the Panchayat officials for paying the fees, he was threatened by the President that he will not provide any information and sent him out without accepting the fees amount.
Finally an inquiry came on 19.08.2010 State Information Commission ,Chennai wherein the The Block Development officer of Kollidam Panchayat union, a clerk from Puliyanthurai Panchayat, Mr. Harikrishnan along with Mr Subramani Director Operations attended . The BDO pleaded that he has joined very recently and brought replies for all except 3 questions which he will provide in 2 days. We have demanded to pass strictures on the erring PIO . On hearing both the parties The information commissioner, Dr.Perumalsamy, ordered to give the replies on or before 23rd September. at free of cost as the information is not given in time.
We are informed by the PIO over phone that replies were sent by RPAD on 25.08.2010, and the complainant also confirmed the receipt.
Since there is lot of irregularities /anomalies found between the records provided and the actual happenings in the execution of projects he is planning to report the same to the District Collector for further action or to file a PIL.

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