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    RTI turns costly for Punjab farmer

    Gunraj Singh of Hoshiarpur in Punjab owns more than hundred acres and spends more than eight hours a day in the fields. It's no wonder that he has tasted success early since he is only 33 years old.

    Gunraj is also driven by another passion, which is soil and forest conservation.

    He showed NDTV team hundreds of acres of forestland that lie barren near Hoshiarpur.

    Under the RTI Act, he has asked the Hoshiarpur district forest office for details of forest conversation measures and money spent on aforestation projects.

    Money deposit

    The details run into 11,900 pages and Gunraj had to spend Rs 24,000 for it.

    "The environment and forest doesn't belong to me alone. It belongs to all of us and belongs to general public," he said.

    "At least our child should have a bright future and if I have shelved this amount just for the sake of public, and according to me, it is a big amount. But a small part I have shelved, so that I can expose the on-going corruption and we should have some forest left in Punjab," he added.

    Gunraj alleges that the DFO wasn't very keen to part with the information. He went to the RTI Commissioner in Chandigarh where he deposited the money.

    The commissioner has asked the Hoshiarpur DFO to get all the documents on November 27.

    Bulky documents

    This is so far the bulkiest information sought under the RTI Act in the region.

    "They have asked for all irrelevant information. Even then we have no problems. They never paid us the money. We are ready with the information. They just have to give us the money and take away all the documents," said RR Kakkar, DFO forest, Hoshiarpur.

    Ten years ago, Gunraj Singh surrendered his American green card. Ever since he has been working hard in his fields in Hoshiarpur and also fighting a lone battle for the cause of environment and against corruption.

    It's been a tough going for him but now he feels Right to Information will definitely help him in his cause.

    RTI turns costly for Punjab farmer

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  2. #2
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    Kudos to Gunraj Singh,

    He has carried out a remarkable act by spending such a huge amount for the cause of the general public, in establishing their right to information. Persons like Shri Gunraj Singh deserve a special mention in the annals of RTI history in our country. May their tribe grow.

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    RTI INDIA: Invoking Your Rights. We provide easy ways to request, analyze & share Government documents by use of Right to Information and by way of community support.

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