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Officials ‘hide’ behind lockdown to escape accountability under RTI Act
‘PIO, FAA sleep over RTI application filed with DFO Rajouri 8 weeks ago’
10/28/2020 12:47:51 AM
Avinash Azad

Early Times Report

Jammu, Oct 27: Lockdown in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic has emerged a big excuse for government officers and officials to escape accountability under RTI Act.
A source claimed that the lockdown helped the officials to push all the scandals under the carpet.
He said that A RTI application which was filed at divisional forest office (DFO) Rajouri is gathering dust there since August 18, 2020.
It is pertinent to mention here that all the government offices were opened in fourth week of April throughout the country, same guidelines were also implemented in J&K, but officials just slept over the RTI applications.
“In most of the cases when you file a RTI application black sheep use money or social pressure, as both tolls are used by them to escape any action for their wrong doing”, said Ankush, a RTI Activist and businessman of district Rajouri.
“I filed an application in the office of Public Information Officer (PIO), DFO Rajouri as some civil works of several crores were allotted in a very fishy manner by the forest department. The department had played very smart and had cunningly made entries of blue eyed contractors for bids of fencing and plantation works of several crores of in Rajouri district alone”, he said, adding that instead of furnishing the information under his mandate the PIO overlooked his duty and did not answer my application even beyond the stipulated time under the Act,” he added.
“Accordingly, on 7th October, 2020 I filled first appeal in the office of First Appellant Authority (FAA), but no response has been received yet. I will take the matter to its logical conclusion, if the FAA does not answer the first appeal I will knock the doors of Central Information Commissioner (CIC) New Delhi”, he said, alleging that meanwhile, he wants that the anti-graft agencies of J&K including ACB, Crime Branch and the CBI should take suo-moto cognizance of the matter where misappropriation of crores of rupees is taking place on the pretext of plantation and fencing works in various forest ranges of Rajouri division.”
Divisional Forest Officer, Rajouri Sanjay Kumar when contacted acknowledged that reply of information seeker has not been furnished yet due to COVID-19 pandemic. “All the data, sought by the information seeker has been collected, soon same will be delivered to him by the speed post,” he added.
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