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Manipur: RTI applicant ostracised
As reported in e-pao.net on 26 August 2011:
RTI applicant ostracised
Imphal, August 25 2011: An individual who had applied for information under RTI Act with regard to construction works of primary schools under SSA and implementation of mid-day meal has been not only threatened but also boy-cotted in his own village by some people.
Talking to mediapersons in this connection, Thangjam Biren Luwang of Wakhong village informed that on April 27 this year, he submitted an application under RTI Act to the State Project Director, SSA, State Mission Authority, Manipur through the State Public Information Officer seeking information on Wakhong Primary School located under Khundrakpam A/C of Imphal East district.
He had wanted to know whether land on which the building of the primary school being constructed belongs to the school or not.
If the land belongs to the school, then to provide the patta and the map and if not, then to provide the detailed information about the rate of the land, drawing of the building being constructed and the names of the individuals being engaged for the purpose.
In addition to this, Biren had also sought information on the sanction orders for money and material related to implementation of Mid-Day meal from 2008 to 2011 in the said primary school, the names of the existing teachers, the required number of teachers, benefits entitled to the students, amount of the money spent on maintenance of the school and APRs .
But some individuals from his village threatened him to withdraw the RTI application on May 13 and 15 .
Following the threat, Biren again lodged a complaint with the State Information Commission on May 17 .
Subsequently, the Commission issued an order directed the SP of Imphal East to take necessary action against all those involved in threatening the RTI applicant.
But the order has not been complied with.
Accordingly, another compliant similar to the one lodged earlier on May 27 had been submitted on July 1 and 2 .
On July 3, Biren was invited to attend an meeting of the School Management Development Committee.
But he and his family members have been boycotted from the village for his refusal to withdraw the RTI application.
Contending against the boycott as extra-judicial, Biren lodged another complaint with the SP of Imphal East praying for taking up necessary action against all those involved.
But nothing has come out of it on account of political influences, Biren rued.
In connection with the response of the Commission to his application, Biren explained that the land on which the school building is being constructed belongs to two persons namely Mangi Devi, wife of late Maharaj Dhanendra and RK Nimai s/o Maharaj Priyobarta of Rajbari.
Construction of the school building on the land which has its owner but disputed even though the school has its own land is wrong, Biren contended and added that the issue he has taken up is not of his personal interest but of the whole village.
In its response, the Commission pointed out that there were 95 students in the school in 2008 and 129 students in 2009 as well as in 2010 .
But at present, there are just 13 students in the school although the School Committee put the figure at 71, Biren said.
He asserted that what the SMDC has been doing is nothing short of contract work with an eye on misusing the fund provided for development of the school including implementation of Mid-Day meal.
But the SMDC was afraid that their misdoings would come to the open.
So, he has been threatened and boycotted from the village.