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Deevakar Anand, Hindustan Times
Gurgaon, February 02, 2013
City denizens need not travel to Chandigarh to attend RTI hearings at the State Information Commission (SIC) any more.

From next week, hearings under the Right to Information (RTI) Act will be conducted through video conferencing facility at the district headquarters. “We are in the final stage of making the service available. It will start in the next-5-6 days,” YD Chugh, under secretary at the Haryana State Information Commission told Hindustan Times on Thursday.

The department of personnel and training (DoPT) under the Union government had in 2012 released Rs.9.68 lakh for setting up information technology paraphernalia at the Haryana SIC’s office to enable RTI hearings through video conferencing from the district headquarters.

The amount has been sanctioned under the Centrally-sponsored scheme on “Improving Transparency and Accountability in Government through Effective Implementation of RTI Act, 2005.”

All the 21 districts of Haryana have video conferencing facility at their respective deputy commissioners’ office, which can be used for RTI hearings.

“I travel all the way to Chandigarh to attend hearings at the SIC. The distance from Gurgaon to Chandigarh is nearly 260 km.

People need not travel once the video conferencing facility starts,” said Aseem Takyar, a Gurgaon-based RTI activist, who has a slew of cases at the state.

The Haryana SIC has nearly 3,500 pending RTI cases. On an average, 50 cases are filed in the commission every day. The SIC is the second appellate authority for RTI cases.