Backward, but informed
For the crusaders of Gulbarga, the right to information has become an effective weapon to bring the lethargic and corrupt administration to heels although on a low scale. The bureaucracy is thriving on lack of awareness and educational backwardness of the region.
However, some of the organisations and individual activtsts have certainly made use of the Act for a good cause.
The officials always tend to conceal information and it is only after complaining to the State Information Commissioner they part with it. Even the top officials like deputy commissioners often exhibit contempt for the RTI.
The Hyderabad Karnataka Environment Awareness and Protection Organisation which has played a commendable role in making good use of the RTI, had sought project report on the controversial bueatification of the Sharanabasaveshwara Lake in the city but the then DC refused to provide it. He budged only when a threat was served to prefer a complaint and to resort to satyagraha.
“The mindset of the bureaucracy is yet to change. We will take up a massive awareness programme on RTI,” said Organisation President Deepak Gala. It has already helped 29 individuals and institutions in getting necessary information from departments.
The Organisation has successfully elicited information about illegal settlements in the premises of the 600-year-old Gulbarga fort, a protected monument, with the Archaeology Departmnent revealing that the district administration has not initiated measures to clear the fort.
City municipal corporation is extending all amentities although none of the habitats pay any tax!
For the former labour minister and well known crusader S K Kantha, RTI is the principal weapon to fight against corruption and file public interest litigation.
Whether it is the sale of sites for a song at business hub Super Market or details of assets and liabilities of elected representatives, RTI has come in handy for him. File notings to which there was no access hitherto have been of great help in cleansing the system, syas Kantha.
Not that all is well with the RTI. Certain dubious elements have been using it for ulterior motives. A person would seek information on the vacant government lands and fabricate records of possession and ownership leading to prolonged legal battles. For unscrupulous elements RTI is a godsend to blackmail officers.
Deccan Herald - Backward, but informed