The Pune district collectorate has provided inaccurate information about the number of Right to Information (RTI) applications that different departments functioning under it had received over the last 14 months, beginning in June last year.
According to the monthly Right to Information (RTI) reports generated by the general administration department (GAD) of the district collectorate, many departments barely receive any RTI applications. However, individual departments gave a completely different picture in the matter.
This anomaly came to light after DNA sought details under RTI, asking about the number of applications received by various departments of the district collectorate from June 2010 to July this year and the number of first appeals filed in various departments.
GAD had provided copies of monthly RTI reports it files with the office of the divisional commissioner, Pune. It had also forwarded the RTI query of DNA to 59 departments functioning under district collector Vikas Deshmukh.
The reports compiled by the GAD are based on data gathered by it from various departments in the district collector’s office. These reports are sent to the divisional commissioner’s office before the 5th of every month.
However, since January this year, the reports were sent quite late, which led to a file noting on the report of February, asking for timely submission of the reports.
According to feedback given by GAD, 39 departments hardly receive any RTI applications; among them the district supply office, food grains distribution office, land tenancy office, district mining office, small savings department, offices of various special land acquisition officers, and offices of the resident naib tehshildars.
It also stated that the departments of revenue, home, sub-divisional officers of six talukas of Khed, Junnar, Bhor, Baramati, Maval, Haveli and Pune, the citizen facilitation centre and the entertainment tax department receive a fairly large number of RTI applications.
However, when the individual departments gave their response to DNA, the scenario on the issue was altogether different. The district supply office, which the GAD’s reports claims to receive very few RTI applications, in their individual report, stated that it received more than 300 applications during that period.
Also, many of the special land acquisition officers had received more than 100 applications under RTI, while the GAD report claims their office had not received many applications.
A senior administrative officer of the GAD explained the anomaly citing the delay on the part of the various departments in submitting their report to the GAD.
Commenting on the anomaly, RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, claimed that this was a “serious case of cheating on the part of officers."
“If the true RTI report is not being sent to the divisional commissioner, it is a matter of grave concern. The state information commissioner should take suo motu action against this and give orders to rectify it with immediate effect,’’ he said.
During the last 14 months, these 59 departments received 3,767 RTI applications on various issues.