Tuesday, July 11, 2017

RTI applicant in Chennai gets 5 kg wrong documents as reply from state food safety department

Indian Express: Chennai: Tuesday, July 11, 2017.
A motor mechanic, who had sought information on the status of a complaint he filed with the state food safety department under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, recently received a reply which is probably the lengthiest in the State.
The response was so lengthy that paper sheets that were attached by the department weighed a whopping five kilograms. Ironically, the petitioner did not get the answers to his complaint.
M Kasimayan, a Thiruvottiyur resident, had lodged a complaint with the commissioner of Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Control Administration department in July 2016 about poor quality rice allegedly being served by a private departmental store in his neighbourhood.
Though it was forwarded to the designated food safety officer in Thiruvallur district, no action was taken. Unhappy with this, Kasimayan filed an RTI petition with the food safety department in August 2016.
Of his seven questions, only three were answered, with the remaining questions (pertaining to the specific case) referred to the designated officer in Thiruvallur.
Following this, he was ignored three times, after which Kasimayan again wrote to the state information commission on June 26, 2017, to initiate contempt proceedings.
Fearing the wrath of the commission, the public information officer of the food safety department, C Balasubramanian, finally sent a reply the very next day. And Kasimayan was startled to find several hundred sheets as a response.
”Though I had sought details about follow-ups to my complaint filed on July 2016, the department by mistake sent me details on follow-ups to all the complaints they received since July 2016,” Kasimayan told Express.
However, details on the exact action are taken with respect to the complaint were missing again. He also expressed qualms over public money being misspent in the form of providing irrelevant information.
Balasubramanian was unavailable for comment, while Express was denied access when it tried meeting him at his office.