FOR VISHNU Narain Shivpuri, the Right To Information Act (RTIA) proved to be a magic wand. On Monday, an application before the appropriate authority under the Act helped get him within two hours what Shivpuri had been unable to get for the past five-years—family pension.
Resident of H 6/3, Paper Mill Colony, Shivpuri had been making rounds of government offices trying to secure family pension ever since his mother expired on November 11, 2001. His travail ended on Monday. Shivpuri could not believe his ears when within hours of moving an application under the RTI with the help of trained volunteers at Hindustan Times ’s Drive Against Bribe Camp, treasury officials told him that his family pension had been cleared.
Shivpuri’s is not a stray case. Equally amazing was the experience of Vijay in Varanasi. Physically challenged, Vijay had applied for a job under the quota for disabled with the Varanasi Municipal Corporation several times but never got any response.
On July 5, he moved an application under the RTI with the help of camp volunteers seeking information on appointments made by theVaranasi Municipal Corporation under the quota. And lo! The latter promptly offered him a job.
A clear indicator of the growing awareness, not to speak of the Act’s efficacy, was the turnout at the ongoing camp at Ambedkar Mahasabha office on Vidhan Sabha Marg where 105 registrations were received on Monday.
Out of these, applications of 80 people were prepared by the members of the self-help groups supervising the camp.
“Maximum numbers of grievances are against the police, Lucknow Municipal Corporation, LESA, Regional Passport Office, Basic Education Department and Sainik Kalyan Board,” said Arundhati, a group leader of the camp.
SR Darapuri, a former IPS officer, supervising the proceedings said that members of various voluntary organisations would stage a demonstration in front of the Regional Passport Office for their total lack of cooperation on the issue.
“I also spoke to a police officer at the DGP’s office in this connection who assured me that necessary steps were being taken to ensure that applications from the people under Right To Information Act I were duly entertained and disposed of,” he added.