Saturday, December 02, 2006

Information pains in Orissa

Manoranjan Joshi, a reporter with a local TV channel, had sought certain information from the Balangir district rural development department under the Right to Information Act.

Joshi was asked by the department to deposit over Rs 1.21 lakh before he could be supplied with the required information. The journalist had wanted to know the name, status and allotment of funds of several projects including those under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana for the years 2004-05 and 2005-06 in the district.

But officials of the department did not find anything surprising in the matter. "Joshi applied for information concerning over 2,100 projects under four packages and 20 packages under PMGSY which amounted to 60,560 pages," Tripathy said.
"As we charge Rs two per page of information, it amounted to over Rs 1.21 lakh," he said.

Joshi, however, said that he had only wanted to access information about the names of the projects, their present status and funds allocated during the two years. "They could have given these bare information as I never wanted to have thousands of pages of details," he said adding it amounted to "harassment".

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