Testing the uses of RTI in Jharkhand

BY vishnu| IN Media Practice | 16/01/2006
Letter to the Hoot: Armed with the act, students of the Prabhat Khabar Institute of Media Studies are zealously filing applications in government departments.





Getting information from government offices was not easy earlier and even after having the Right to Information, its not easy to get the facts from the offices. But now the act has given a right to demand for information and if you are determined to get it by continuous attempts, you may even expose various scams. Here are some examples of exposing fraud by the govt. agencies. These exposes are the result of the attempts by the team of Prabhat Khabar Institute of Media Studies (PKIMS).


The Jharkhand Assembly has a well-furnished Guest House with 30 air-conditioned rooms at the assembly campus. Its rooms are being booked for VIPs and eminent persons as well as for politicians, social workers, journalists etc. Rent for EX-MLAs, MPs etc. is Rs. 100.00 per day and for others, it is Rs. 300.00. The whole amount received from the guesthouse has to be deposited in the Govt. treasury according to the rule. But information collected through RTI reveals that only a very small amount has been deposited in the treasury during last five years. Nobody knows where the rest has gone. A young journalist working with PKIMS, Shakti Pandey just applied for the details of the amount deposited in the assembly. People were surprised to know that only Rs. 30000 were deposited in the year 2004 and only Rs 32800 in the year 2005 (up to 7th December). On the basis of common calculation, this amount may be 20 Lacs or more. Thanks to  RTI for exposing this.


Registration of 160 NGO’s without having proper or full address is another irregularity exposed through RTI. Ms. Sarita Kumari from PKIMS applied for the list of NGO’s registered in Jharkhand. Fortunately, she got the full list and was surprised to know that 160  among 1343 NGO’s registered during last five year have not mentioned their proper address which is an essential for registration.


A scam in muster roll in Palamu has also been exposed with help of RTI. This was under the scheme of "Food for Work." Some construction work was done by govt. machinery in a pond Rangaiya village of Manatu block. The villagers had doubts about the wages and other expenses of this work. They applied for the muster role and they got it. It was interesting to know that the list was fake having fake names of labours and even their fathers names were wrong. Some names of the list was repeated again and again. The list was itself a document of corruption in the implementation of the food for work scheme.


A team of three dozen students of PKIMS is engaged to extract the information with help of Mritunjaya Sharma and under guidance of Mr. Harivansh, Editor in Chief of Prabhat Khabar, the most circulated Hindi daily of Jharkhand. Hundreds of applications has been deposited in various govt. departments and the answers are awaited from them. We hope to do more and more exposes, thanks to the RTI Act.



Vishnu Rajgadia


Prabhat Khabar Institute of Media Studies

HB Road, Kokar, Ranchi (Jharkhand)

January 13, 2006 





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