RTI breaks 13-year deadlock
As reported by Srinivas Srinoorkar in The Deccan Herald on 10 January 2008
Deccan Herald - RTI breaks 13-year deadlock
RTI breaks 13-year deadlock
He could not get his legitimate work done even after a marathon battle of 13 years, but he was able to get it done within one month after exercising his right under the Right to Information Act.
The RTI Act, which is slowly penetrating down the line, not only ensures transparency and accountability in the lethargic, insensitive, indifferent and irresponsible administration dogged with corruption but it can also be an effective instrument to bail out an individual from the chronic sufferings at the hands of the notorious bureaucracy.
This has been amply demonstrated here by intelligently making use of the RTI Act in a couple of cases.
The 75-year-old retired instructor in carpentry Peer Ahmed, working at the Khadi and Village Industries wing of the District Industries Centre of the Industries and Commerce Department here, had been running from pillar to post to get back his missing credits of General Provident Fund (GPF) installments for 13 long years. His marathon correspondence with the department has had little impact.
Accidentally, he came in to contact with the RTI activist Shaikh Shafi Ahmed who advised Peer Ahmed to make an attempt by resorting to the RTI Act.
With his help and assistance Peer Ahmed made an application to the Accountant General Office, Bangalore, on December 1, 2006. He got an acknowledgement from the said office on the receipt of the application.
To his utter astonishment, Peer Ahmed, even before receiving the necessary information got a cheque for Rs 9,483 within a month from the AG’s office! Such was the deafening effect of the RTI Act on the AG’s Office. Peer Ahmed, who had retired in 1993, could not trace out his two GPF installments although he had duly paid them. The DIC kept on telling him that the fault was not their’s but that of AG’s office.
Poor Peer Ahmed was not in a position to fight with the mighty AG’s Office at far-off Bangalore. The ‘Tabarana Kathe’ at last had a comic end when he received the cheque along with due interest on the missing GPF installments.
VAT is this?
Md Wajid Ahmed Ghauri, a small trader, had done the furniture work to the tune of Rs 80,000 at the Teachers’ Training Institute of the state government here.
After competition of his work the TTI officials arbitrarily deducted VAT at the rate of 12.5 per cent. Ghauri, a Tax Invoice Number (TIN) holder, is entitled only for 4 per cent VAT deduction.
When he approached the TTI officials they evaded him and even the Commercial Tax Department officials did not help him to get back his excess tax amount deducted. The state treasury officials demanded their palms to be greased to get his work done.
Left with no alternative Ghauri made an application to the Commercial Tax Department under the RTI Act. At the very sight of the application the officials trembled and persuaded him to withdraw the application. Ghauri said withdrawal of the application would immediately follow the issue of cheque. Unbelievably the authorities issued the cheque on the same day!
“RTI is a multi edged weapon. If it is put to proper use it can deliver wonders,’’ quipped Shafi Ahmed.
Re: RTI breaks 13-year deadlock
can have the contact details of Shaikh Shafi Ahmed please.