The beginning of a revolution
THE ?HINDUSTAN Times? Drive Against Bribe has achieved the ends it had envisaged. Undertaken in various cities of the State with the help of trained volunteers and self-help groups, the drive was fuelled much by enthusiastic public participation.india Updated: Jul 17, 2006 01:07 IST
THE ‘HINDUSTAN Times’ Drive Against Bribe has achieved the ends it had envisaged. Undertaken in various cities of the State with the help of trained volunteers and self-help groups, the drive was fuelled much by enthusiastic public participation.
And nothing proves it better than the staggering number of registrations for information received at these camps. Varanasi, with 10 volunteers supervising the camp, topped the list receiving 2,000 applications. Of these 225 applications were processed. Small town Deoria pulled a surprise by recording 1400 applications at a camp led by 10 volunteers. In the State capital (Lucknow), over 1,500 aggrieved citizens raised their voice by registering with the camp run by a dozen trained volunteers and 820 applications were moved. Sultanpur and Gorakhpur with 500 and 450 applications each, respectively, completed the circle.
The heartening outcome of the drive was manifest in the happy faces of many individuals, who benefited from the mere use of their Right To Information (RTI). It has set in motion the clogged machinery and cut to shreds the red tape. Take for instance, the case of Brijesh Kumar, who helped residents of an entire village (Rasoolpur under Jaunpur district) get their ration card by moving the appropriate authority.
Exercising his Right to Information he forwarded an application and within a week not only did he get his ration card but kick-started the process for his entire village to be benefited likewise. Youthful aspirations achieved fruition when Prashant Gupta, a resident of 3/417 Vikas Nagar, Lucknow, finally got his passport to enable his journey to Australia for higher studies.
Many who believed at the outset that the RTI campaign would not lead to any benefits, eventually not only turned into its staunch advocates but were also its beneficiary like the PCO owner Charan Singh. For him the Act virtually turned out to be a magic wand. His phone was lying dead for the past four days.
“I had made several complaints to the department but nothing happened. Not only was I worried because it is my only source of livelihood but also apprehensive that someone may misuse my number as it had both STD and ISD facility,” said Singh.
His anxiety, however, was short-lived. On Thursday, Singh approached the Drive Against Bribe camp at the Baba Sahib Bhim Rao Ambedkar Mahasabha office on Vidhan Sabha Road where trained volunteers helped him out in moving an application with the appropriate authority under the RTI. “The response was unbelievable. The phone was restored by the time I reached home,” said the thrilled PCO owner.
In spite of such successes, there is still a long way to go thanks to the stiff resistance from the thick-skinned ‘babus’ who look down upon the Act as some sort of a pesky tool in the hands of nosey parkers.