Activists against wall in Chennai corporation

Chennai: The government-made tool for transparency, the Right to Information (RTI) Act, according to activists, has been of late diluted and obtaining information has become a challenging task.

The Chennai corporation has no soft corner for applicants who opine that the civic body has been testing their patience in almost every RTI they file. Some other departments serve well in terms of RTI, according to the activists.

“I file at least two to three dozen RTI applications every month, seeking information and a larger part of the applications are related to Chennai corporation,” says V. Gopal­akr­ishnan, a city-based RTI activist.

“In certain cases, the replies are shocking when the authorities ‘admit’ that the corresponding file is ‘missing’ and some information are forbidden under the title ‘personal’,” he says. “When it comes to being transparent, the corporation must also upload approved layouts on its website,” Gopalakrishnan suggests.

For T.G. Rammohan, a senior citizen and RTI activist, some departments like highways and transport provide satisfactory replies.

“I have given RTI petitions to the civic body’s town planning department thrice but not once have I received a satisfactory reply,” says Rammohan. According to him, the state highways and transport department are relatively better in replying to RTI petitions.

But sources at the corporation say the civic body has a separate public information officer (PIO) and an appellate authority for each of its department to reply appropriately to RTI applications.

“Every department has a separate PIO who can make handling RTI applications easy,” said a corporation official.

( Source : dc )
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