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As reported by Raakhi Jagga in indianexpress.com on 21 January 2011:
161 measurement books missing from LIT records
161 measurement books missing from LIT records
A total of 161 measurement books (MB) are missing from the records of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) from the year 2001, it is learnt.
These books contain details of all development work — expenditure, payment made to contractors, etc. When released, while a junior engineers (JE) has to fill one MB with details regarding various works, a second MB can be issued only when the first one has been submitted for the records. However, it has been found that one JE has been issued more than 20 MBs, when he is either yet to submit the previous ones or the books are missing from the records.
Such discrepancy came to the forefront when the council of RTI activists asked for details from LIT authorities under the Right To Information Act.
Rohit Sabharwal, president of RTI council, said: “Measurement books have to be submitted to the LIT office because they contain all details. According to rule, a JE has to fill a MB on a daily basis — where works are being carried out and how much work has been completed on a given day. These books are of great help if any inquiry is conducted regarding any project. So, it seems that it is a deliberate act to misplace the MBs.”
The JEs who have been issued MBs are Mukhtair Singh, Jaswinder Singh, Gurmail Singh, Nirmal Singh, Ranjit Kumar, Jagdev Singh, Boota Ram, Narinder Kumar, Navin Malhotra, Ashwini Kumar, Inderpal Singh, Bikram Singh and Jaswinder Singh.
Arvind Sharma, general secretary of the council, said: “The JEs have never been asked why they have not submitted the books since 2001. Moreover, they have no details regarding the details of the projects that have already been completed.”
Not only this, according to the audit report revealed under RTI, there is no record of utilisation of construction material issued to contractors and engineers in the books.
A similar incident has taken place in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation as well. Here, the JEs have not submitted the MBs and hence, cases of overbilling or details of billing in many projects are not available, said sources.
As reported by Shiv Sahay Singh in indianexpress.com on 23 January 2011
‘Govt must spend more money for awareness about RTI Act’
The true stories of those who were empowered by using the Right to Information Act made Anindya Kishor an activist.
In two years Anindya has used the Act so extensively that today he is known in the state as the face of RTI activism. People from across the state call this 35-year-old activist to inquire about ways to file application, make second appeals and get information through the Act. Anindya has formed an organisation, Indian Peoples’ Right for Information and Democracy, to spread RTI activism especially in rural Bengal.
In a very short period, Anindya has organised numerous RTI awareness camps in North 24 Parganas and Nadia districts. According to him, it is essential in a democracy that villagers can use the Act and assert their rights. He is also in regular touch with the activists across the country and has built a network of activists.
“People of the country on whose money the government runs have no idea how their money is utilised. There is an undesirable secrecy about government expenditure,” says Anindya.
According to Anindya a lotneeds to be done till people can question how and why their money has been spent (Mera paisa mera hisab).
“A girl once told me that after the death of her father she was denied his pension from Railways. The reason--Railway official was unable to trace the concerned file. When we told them we would use RTI, the officials released the pension money in a couple of days,” says Anindya.
What pains Anindya is sorry state of RTI implementation in the state. “More money should be spent on generating the awareness of RTI. The commission should play a more proactive role in making the people use the biggest tool of democracy,” he says.