India

PHE Rural denies requisite information under RTI Act 2009 fearing expose of wrongdoings worth crores

golden yug
[ July 21, 2017 ] Many of us may not be knowing who often witness huge protests against Govt for its failure to provide drinking water which is their fundamental necessity and their fundamental right also. Infect the reality is that Govt puts funds worth crores at the disposal of PHE Department to ensure the proper and regular supply of drinking water which is then handed over to concerned Chief Engineer to execute these funds on the ground so that no one is deprived of from this basic community sustaining life on this planet. For the smooth execution of govt plans, PHE Department has man power upto 8937 ranging from Chief Engineer to lower level helpers in Jammu region. Despite this there are hundreds of daily wagers to look after the department for regular flow of drinking water at the doorsteps of consumers. It is unfortunate that despite this huge deployment hundreds of complaints against the department are registered against the department on daily basis prime among them the failure to ensure proper and regular supply of drinking water in most of the areas in Jammu region. Moreover the sad part of whole story is there is no updating of department’s website so that one can have any clue of functioning of department like the budget they get and what they spent and where so that those raising fingers at Govt of being callous towards theirs sufferings can get some clue that govt is doing its job but it’s the executive class to blame which is doing serious blunders at the ground level causing grave problems for general public for none of their faults as this is tax payers money and they have every right to know what happened to their hard earned money. In view of the complete mess in the department, as a social responsibility the management of Golden Yug daily English Newspaper filed a RTI to seek the details of funds so spent to improve the working of department after the newspaper received hundreds of complaints from general public regarding worst ever water supply in Jammu city and its surroundings. However it is unfortunate to note that the information seeker was denied the requisite information which was completely in public interests which is also the fundamental requirement of RTI Act firstly did not respond for thirty days and then conveyed to information seeker through a letter saying that information sought is voluminous and requires extra clarifications both in terms of human and financial implications. However the RTI filed by management of newspaper was only seeking the details of funds spent in two years i.e 2015-16 and 2016-17 and which is very much available with the department. The information seeker was demanding the detail of funds spent after the management came to know that there was scam in purchasing the water pipes as when these pipes were being laid, there was huge hue and cry raised by general public with regard to their size and quality. This is also to note that Superintending Engineer Hydraulic Circle Jammu passed the order on disposing off of first appeal to provide the requisite information to information seeker vide letter No 3323-26 dated 23-06-2017. But the PIO did not provide the requisite information. Following this information seeker again approached the first authority and PIO Vide letter dated 1-7-2017. The first Appellant Authority again directed to PIO to oblige his order and provide the information being sought by information seeker vide his letter No.3640-43 dated 8-7-2017. Despite all this the information seeker once again denied the information and not only this when information seeker visited the office to deposit the reminder to the PIO ON 21-7-2017 vide receipt No. 984 dated 21-7-2017, he was badly misbehaved by technical officer to the EE, PHE Rural and also threatened the information seeker to withdraw the application or be ready to face serious consequences thereof. He even went on to the extent of saying that he is not afraid of anybody and he is having the full patronage of concerned Minister, no one can do anything about him. Denying the information which is in public interest is the murder of RTI Act and also puts serious question mark on the credibility of Govt which time and again boost of transparency and morality as if Govt fails to take serious cognizance of this denial, then the people will lose confidence in democratic system and also will be betrayal with the aspirations of people of state who elect their Govt with a hope that their issues will be addressed on priority but denying the requisite information of public interest only proves that there is serious mess prevalent in the department and the same needs the enquiry and investigation from competent body the ascertain the facts. The concerned Minister should also conduct departmental enquiry as on his name this mess is going on and it is his moral responsibility to clear doubts gathering in public domain which is their fundamental right.