Saturday, June 19, 2010

RTI Act helps 71-yr-old to settle decade-old fight

He is 71 years old now. For almost 11 years of his retired life, he fought with the management of Hindustan Antibiotics Limited (HAL) for his incentives. Finally, he had to take recourse to the Right of Information Act (RTI) to get justice. Fortunately, the final tussle came cheap as he had to spend only Rs 30. Vasant Pingan, who was working with HAL since 1961, had retired in 1999 after 38 years of service. Thereafter, he had to lock horns with the management, as it refused to part with Dearness Allowance (DA) for its retired employees. As per an agreement between the employees and HAL, the company had to pay DA to employees when it improved its financial condition. But, later HAL disbursed DA only to current employees and ignored ex-employees like Pingan. Pingan objected to the denial of assured DA and complained at various levels, as HAL turned a deaf ear to his protest. When he came to know about the RTI Act last year, he made an application to HAL, enquiring about DA for retired personnel. But the company stonewalled this effort too by claiming that the information sought is a personal one. Finally, he appealed to the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) and posted all documents. This cost only Rs 30. When HAL came to know that Pinjan had approached the CIC, his former employer decided to sign the incentive cheque for him and delivered it to his home.

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