Right to Information – Master key to good governance

RTI empowers citizens in Guwahati

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 7, 2006

RTI empowers citizens in Guwahati

Bano Haralu

Friday, July 7, 2006 (Guwahati):


Roads in Guwahati such as the JN Boroah Lane in Jorpukhuri have their share of potholes and perennially choked drains that get only worse during the monsoons.

Residents have appealed several times to the Public Works Department and the Guwahati Municipal Corporation but the JN Boroah Lane was never fixed.

Therefore, on the March 27, Ronah Bhuyan, a member of an NGO, filed an application under the RTI Act.

“We used the RTI to get the work done. We wanted to know the cost of repair, of the construction and total cost. But, we got no response. However, after the RTI application was filed, the garbage was cleared overnight and the road was also repaired,” says Anju Ara Begum, a resident.

Nevertheless, the petitioner did not actually get the information she had asked for. So she wrote to the Chief Information Commissioner after waiting for the stipulated 30 days.

The Chief Information Commissioner found the petition fit for an appeal, and at a hearing last week, it was found that the official responsible for supplying the information was indeed guilty.

The Chief Engineer Roads was charged with violating sections 4,5,6 (3) and 7 of the Act.

However, since this was the first case heard by the commission, the engineer was not given any punishment.

In fact, he was even spared the fine of Rs 250 that he was supposed to pay for each day of delay after the 30-day period. However, he has been told to provide the required information within 15 days now.

It is clear that the publicity of the potential of the RTI is clearly inadequate.

After decades of citizens being completely disempowered and having no notion of participatory democracy activists of the RTI movement have an uphill task ahead.


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