THE CAMPAIGN is only a day-old and the word has already spread to neighbouring districts. On Sunday, people from these areas flocked to the on-going Right To Information Act (RTI) awareness campaign at the Ambedkar Mahasabha office on Vidhan Sabha Road.
Being undertaken in public interest, the purpose of the drive is to apprise people of the significance of the Act and its use for making the bureaucracy and the government accountable, and to usher in transparency in governance and check corruption. On Sunday, as large number of people queued up at the camp.
Those who came included several people who, after having served a particular department, were now running from pillar to post to get their GPF and pension cleared.
“My father, who worked at the Cane Commissioner’s office in Deoria, retired in 2001. He got promoted just before retirement. But the subsequent hike he got in his salary, after the promotion, has not been paid by the government till date,” said Ram Pratap Yadav, who has made innumerable rounds of Cane Commissioner’s office here to get the issue resolved.
Like Yadav, Harvansh Upadhyay, who had come all the way from Chandauli, said his father-in-law retired from the post of assistant development officer 12 years ago. “But he is yet to get his provident fund, and ever since I have been pursuing his case with the registrar of cooperative societies here,” he said.
Shiv Om Mishra had come from Barabanki as his mother had not received the usual family pension since January.“Instead of depositing the pension in the bank concerned in Barabanki, the authorities send it to the PNB here from where it is subsequently transferred to its Barabanki branch,” said Mishra adding that at times the entire process took a couple of months. All these people said they knew that the staff in these government offices expected them to grease their palms. “But instead, we all now want to make use of RTI Act to fight corruption,” said Mishra.
“We have been telling these people that purpose of this drive is to make them aware of the rights that they have been empowered with under the RTIA, and we do not possess any additional authority to get their job done,” said a former IPS officer IC Dwivedi, associated with the campaign. Besides Dwivedi, other eminent people and self-help group that have lent their support to the campaign include SR Darapuri, Sandeep Pandey, Arundhati Dhuru, Navin Tiwari, Jagat Narain Shailendra Singh and Chandra Bhan. “From Monday onwards, we would be organising similar awareness camps all over the State,” said Sandeep Pandey.