Saturday, July 29, 2006

My first RTI application

Atlast I filed my first RTI application. This is about a road near my house. Rather, this is about a road that is not there near my house. It is in such a horrible condition. So I asked for the details of the works done on the road in the last one year. Also, why the road is in such a sorry state today, and when it will be repaired.

This road is in Porur. I went to the secretariat on 26th July. I thought this request must be filed with the Public works department. But when I went there to the PIO of PWD, I was asked to go to the highways department. BTW, both the PIO and the appellate authority of PWD listed on the government website have retired. I fought a little with one of the lower officials saying that any PIO can take any application and then forward that request to the department concerned. But nobody was willing to take an RTI application.

I then went to the highways department. There I met the appellate authority directly (without knowing he was the appellate authority). He was pretty helpful and checked with a few of his staff whether this request pertains to their department. There they were not sure if this road comes under Highways or Rural development dept since Porur is a Panchayat. They asked me if buses ply on that road, I said no. So they asked me to go to RD(Rural Development) department. This is where I was made to run around for a lot of time. Forget receiving the application, nobody was ready to even tell me who the PIO of this department is. I fought with a lot of people there, then one official told me that people are generally wary of taking RTI applications. But finally I was told who the PIO was. I went to him and showed him my form. Then he told me about some G.O that was recently passed which moved Town panchayats to MA & WS (Municipal Administration and Water supply) department. So he asked me if Porur was a town or village panchayat. By this time I was irritated. I told him, that he has to take the application irrespective of which the dept this request has to go to. And I cited him the rules of the RTI act. He said he cant do it, and asked me to come later since he was discussing something important. I thanked him for being so courteous and left the place. Then I checked whether Porur was a town panchayat and on confirmation I went to MA & WS department. There the PIO was pretty helpful and encouraging and was telling me that people should be aware of their rights and only if we ask questions, staff in the govt will work. He said he was ready to take the application and asked me to pay the fees of 50 rupees. By this time, banks were not issuing DDs and the lady there in the department said that so far they had not collected cash and hence didnt know how to deal in cash.

By this time, I had spent around 3 hours in the secretariat and I had to get back to my office . So I went back with the satisfaction that atleast I found the right PIO and he was ready to take the application. I went back on 28th July, paid the 50 rupees by DD and filed my first RTI application. Now I am waiting for a reply to my questions.

1 comment:

Vijay said...

Madhav, I am really proud (and at the same time envious too!) of the efforts that you are taking. I have just started reading your blog from your first post. I wish you the very best in all projects that you work on. Cheers! Jai Hind!!