BALANGIR: Manoranjan Joshi was shocked when he was asked by the department of rural development here to pay Rs 1.22 lakh for accessing information under the Right to Information Act.

Joshi had applied for information on the status of projects under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and low-cost repair of roads taken up by the department in Balangir district.

"I approached an assistant engineer, who is also the department's public information officer (PIO), but he refused to give any information. So, I was compelled to apply for the information under the Act. But, to my utter disbelief I was given a letter by the PIO, Birendra Kumar Tripathy, asking for Rs 1.22 lakh as the cost of the information," Joshi said.

He has appealed against the department authorities before the additional district magistrate, who is the PIO for the district.

Executive engineer of the department here, P K Senapaty, said it could have happened due to a misunderstanding between the applicant and the PIO. "I will look into the matter," he added.

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