KOLKATA, July 24: The Howrah Municipal Corporation is yet to open a Right To Information cell though it had received a letter from the state government in March this year to do so. The reason, the civic authority says, is lack of manpower.

“We did receive a letter from the state government but starting the RTI cell will obviously take time because we already lack manpower. One person has to perform the duties of two posts here,” said Mrs Monika Biswas, deputy mayor (HMC).

The civic authority, however, claims that the RTI cell will be formed soon and start operating within a month or two. “We are, however, trying to form a committee to look after the formation of the RTI cell. It will take some time but we are trying our best to open the RTI cell within two months,” added Mrs Biswas.

Mr Durga Das Goswami, commissioner of HMC said, “The Howrah corporation is overburdened as there are several posts vacant and since the officers for the RTI cell are to be appointed from within the corporation, this was a problem for us. However, appointment of information officer and assistant information officer is complete but some posts are yet to be filled before the cell can start operating.”

Meanwhile, the corporation has been receiving complaints about various civic problems and addressing them through the Citizen’s Charter that the Howrah Municipal Corporation formed and published in February this year. Through this charter, the civic body has set up time limits for completion of various civic duties by the corporation. If it fails to complete within the said time, people are free to register their complaints. Accordingly, the committee looking after the charter will then take action against the particular departments.

The first meeting of the charter committee was held last week where the different departments of the corporation reported the complaints they received from the public. “I have been receiving some minor complaints with regards to my department which I have reported to the charter. The recent complaints were about waterlogging problems,” said Mr Imtiaz Ahmed, Member-Mayor In Council (conservancy).

The Statesman