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news details
MC officials harass RTI activist's kin for seeking info
5/3/2019 11:12:17 PM

Early Times Report

Budgam, May 3: Instead of setting their house in order, the officials of Municipal Committee (MC) Magam have harassed a senior citizen who happens to be father of an RTI information seeker.
The RTI activist, who is chairman of J&K RTI Foundation, had filed an RTI application before the Municipal Committee Magam and wanted information on illegal dumping of solid waste on the banks of Ferozpur river that flows through this town located on Srinagar Gulmarg road in Budgam district.
Details available with Early Times reveal that RTI Foundation whose office is located in Mustaffa Building Magam has been doing a remarkable work vis a vis implementation, awareness and advocacy of RTI Law in the state. In all the RTI applications which are filed on behalf of the J&K RTI Foundation, the Magam office address is used for correspondence. Around two years back an RTI application related to illegal dumping of municipal solid waste on the banks of Ferozpur river was filed by RTI Foundation in the office of local Municipal Committee. Application was addressed to Executive Officer of the municipality. The office did not provide any information, with the result information seeker Engineer Irfan Banka went to State Information Commission (SIC) with a complaint. Recently, the SIC vide its letter No. SIC/K/Comp/30/2017/1572-73 issued a notice to the PIO/Executive Officer, Municipal Committee Magam. The officer has been asked to appear before the SIC with relevant documents on May 14. This infuriated the municipal officials who sent Fayaz Ahmad (employee of MC Magam) to the Mustaffa Complex and tried to mislead and harass Haji Ghulam Mustaffa, who is father of Irfan Banka. "Unfortunately, to hide the realities, some employee namely Fayaz Ahmad has misled my father with wrong facts regarding RTI application filed on issue of illegal solid waste dumping. My father who is a senior citizen was harassed inside his business unit. The physical harassment was based on the wrong reporting by the employee of Municipal Committee Magam who has misused his official position. I appeal SIC, DC Budgam and Director Urban Local Bodies Kashmir to seek an explanation from MC Magam and ask them why the employee was sent to my business unit," said Er Irfan Banka.
As reported already members of RTI Foundation held a protest last year against illegal municipal waste dumping in Magam town which remains unaddressed by the authorities on ground level since last many years after there was massive construction of commercial establishments in the town.
"Magam town generates around 1 metric ton of solid waste daily and the same is disposed off in an unscientific manner. Instead of addressing the issue , officials of the municipality are harassing whistleblowers and RTI information seekers. We strongly condemn this act," said Syed Nasarullah, a social activist who has filed a PIL before J&K High Court on un-scientific solid waste management.
"We will now ask RTI Foundation to be an intervener in our PIL. We would take up Magam illegal waste dumping before High Court during the next week as the PIL is listed for hearing soon," Nasarullah added. Meanwhile Jammu & Kashmir RTI Movement has condemned the harassment of Haji Ghulam Mustaffa father of Er Irfan Banka (RTI Activist). Founder and Chairman of RTI Movement has demanded stern action against the official. He appealed Commissioner SIC M A Mir to intervene.
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