More hurdles: Depts yet to have PIOs | india | Hindustan Times
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More hurdles: Depts yet to have PIOs

EVEN AS HT?s Drive against Bribe campaign is going a long way inspiring and motivating people to get the information they require and jobs done by exercising their right to information, the government departments are simply not cooperating.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2006 01:24 IST

EVEN AS HT’s Drive against Bribe campaign is going a long way inspiring and motivating people to get the information they require and jobs done by exercising their right to information, the government departments are simply not cooperating.

They are not appointing Public Information Officers (PIOs) to receive complaints from the common man.

Caught in the dark tunnel are people knocking at the doors of the KGMU, the SSP’s office, Regional Passport Office, the various caste commissions, nationalised banks and the seat of governance, the secretariat, in the hope of getting the needful done.

Take the case of Prashant Gupta, a resident of 3/417 Vikas Nagar. Eager to pursue higher studies in Australia, Prashant has to clear TOFEL (Test Of English as Foreign Language) for which he needs a passport. Consequently, he applied for one on February 17 and was told by the Regional Passport Office staff that at the most it would take three months to deliver the passport.

“When nothing happened I approached the RPO and was told that my LIU clearance was awaited following which I went to the LIU office in Jawahar Bhawan, where a sub-inspector demanded Rs 1,000 from me for submitting the necessary report,” he said. On Wednesday, Prashant went to the RPO to seek a reply on the issue under the RTIA but was told that the office did have a PIO. I then met PRO BB Arya, who too refused to entertain my application, He merely scribbled on the counterfoil that I was given when I had submitted my passport application form, said Prashant. 

Like Prashant, Raj Kumar Verma, a resident of 542/12 Naya Haiderganj, too was turned away from the SSP Lucknow’s office as a PIO to receive such applications is yet to be appointed there too.

“We had met principal secretary administrative reforms GP Verma and pointed out the problems being faced by the citizens in gaining entry to the departments in the secretariat but no corrective steps have been taken,” lamented Arundhati, of a self-help group supervising the RTIA camp here.

She said majority of those who came to the camp at Bhimrao Ambedkar Mahasabha Office on Vidhan Sabha Marg described this hurdle as the main deterrence that prevented them from submitting their applications. “We would now be petitioning the Chief Information Commissioner at the Centre and his representative in the State urging them to issue mandatory directives to all government departments to appoint PIOs and accept Rs 10 fee in cash against peoples applications,” said Shailendra another trained volunteer at the camp.