The Times of India: Hyderabad: Wednesday, February 15, 2017.
Days after RTI applicant S Khalid Ahmed sought details of an old sale deed in Persian from the state archives department, he was denied the information citing absence of Persian translators.
Not just Ahmed, but dozens of such queries under the RTI Act by historians and others are going unanswered as experts are not available to decipher old Persian and translate it into English.
Another RTI applicant, Abid Rasool Khan, a resident of Mehdipatnam, asked the department to provide him a copy of the GO published during a Nizam's government gazette in 1896.
Officials said they had 2.32 lakh gazettes in the department and they neither had enough staff to scour through the records nor translators.
They also do not have experts to translate records from Urdu and Old Telugu (chain-link) into English. "We are receiving an average 40 applications every month under RTI Act. But we are disposing off applications after searching the documents and records," public information officer and deputy director, archives department, V Ranga Raj told TOI.
Most RTI applicants seek in formation on old cartography (maps) dating back to 1890s and 1930s. Most sought-after documents are in Persian, Urdu and English too. "As no translators are available with the department, we are giving chance to applicants to bring translators and translate the records. In exchange, we will collect a nominal fee," he added.
"On the other hand, other de partments are also forwarding RTI applications to archives department hoping that the records might be available with us," he said. "We have requested the united Andhra Pradesh government and now the Telangana government to appoint translators and adequate staff, but our requests have fallen on deaf ears," said a senior archives department official.