By: S Gopal Puri
Dharamsahla (June 20): The Right to Information (RTI) Act was enacted to promote transparency and accountability in public offices, however, officers in small towns do not think so. As per reports, wrong information was provided to an RTI activist in Palampur near here by the officers of public works department (PWD) and municipal committee (MC) of Palampur.
Naveen Pathania, an RTI activist, said that he had been provided wrong information concealing actual facts and was misguided in two cases by the public offices at Palampur. He said that he had sought information through RTI from the municipal committee of Palampur about the demolished material of the famous “Holi Ka Manch” of Palampur. In reply to his RTI application the officials of the committee stated that the said material was lying in their store.
Pathania said that when we actually went to confirm the RTI information, they were denied entry into the store stating that the key was lost. Later, the lock of the store-room was cut in the presence of the ward members of MC, after which it was established that 15 CGI roof sheets, 20,000 bricks and 150 wooden sleepers were missing from there.
In another case, the activist was misguided after he had applied to the public relation officer of the PWD division at Palampur to get information about a deodar tree cut into sleepers after it had naturally fallen in the rest house of the department.
Pathania asserted that the department stated in the reply of his RTI application that the sleepers of the said deodar tree were laying in the department’s store in Palampur. However, no such sleepers were found in the store actually. “When I complained to the higher officials about this, I was informed that the sleepers were in the rest-house. It is suspected that these sleepers are not the original ones and were produced mere to justify the information because as per the RTI these should have been in the store,” he said.
However, when contacted, executive officer of MC Palampur, Chaman LaL said that they had shown the store to Pathania. “The material which was not there is being used in other development works going on in the town nearby” he said.