Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Upload challan data online, State Information Commission directs Faridabad police

The Tribune India: Faridabad: Wednesday, 14 April 2021.
The State Information Commission (SIC) has asked the Faridabad police to upload the challan data on the Police Department’s website. The order comes in response to an RTI application filed by a local resident, who has alleged lack of transparency in issuing challans.
In the order issued on April 8, Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Yashpal Singhal has directed the district police to consider uploading year-wise information on motor vehicle challans or traffic challans on the police website after considering the legal implications, if any. It should be done within one month of the receipt of the order, states the CIC order.
The SIC has also allowed the appellant to inspect permissible record of the respondent public authority relating to his RTI application. The respondent State Public Information Officer (ACP-Headquarters, Faridabad) has been asked to furnish permissible or available information to the appellant within 15 days of the receipt of the order.
The appellant, Ajay Bahl, a volunteer of local NGO Ek Sangharsh had filed the application filed on September 23, 2020, seeking information of the details of the money collected from challans and where it was deposited and used by the Police Department.
The second appeal was filed on November 22, 2020. Bahl had alleged that traffic challans were issued in violation of the Motor Vehicles Act and that the Police Department did not provide correct information to his queries raised through the RTI application filed in September 23.

Info panel fines officials for violation of RTI Act

Times of India: Jaipur: Wednesday, 14 April 2021.
The State Information Commission, while expressing its displeasure over the attitude of Ajmer Municipal Corporation which took a long time to respond to a citizen’s request seeking information under the Right to Information Act, imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on the corporation commissioner.In another case, the commission imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on the executive officer of Bhawani Mandi Municipality for ignoring the Right to Information Act. This fine will be deducted from his salary.
Hearing the matter, information commissioner Narayan Bareth said the corporation had made inordinate delay in replying to the RTI query. In this case, Nathu Singh of Ajmer had filed an application on May 30, 2018 asking the corporation for information on action taken on his grievance.
According to the applicant, on April 19, 2018, the district collector sent a letter to the corporation asking for a copy of the proceedings, remarks and note-sheet. But the corporation did not pay any heed to Singh's plea.
According to the applicant, when the corporation did not provide any information within the stipulated time, Singh filed an appeal to mayor under the Right to Information Act. After a hearing on September 17, 2018, the mayor ordered the corporation to provide information within 15 days. But the corporation administration also did not give any importance to the order of the mayor.
When the commission sought its response to the corporation on the appeal of Nathu Singh, the corporation kept refraining from answering.
The commission sent notices to the corporation four times but the civic officials did not pay any heed to it.
The commission also imposed a fine of Rs 5000 on the executive officer of Bhawani Mandi municipality in Jhalawar district. Anwar Hussain of Bhawani Mandi had complained that he had filed an application on July 10, 2010, asking the municipality for information about pattas issued under the State Grant Act.
When the commission asked the municipality for an answer, the municipality did not respond. The commission gave an opportunity to the municipality twice. The information commissioner instructed the officer to get Hussain to inspect the records and provide information up to 50 pages free of cost.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Revealing interview marks will pose threat to lives of board members: CU

Times of India: Kozhikode: Tuesday, 13 April 2021.
Calicut University has provided a strange excuse to a Right to Information (RTI) query seeking information about interview marks awarded to candidates who attended the assistant professor interview in Malayalam department saying that revealing the interview marks would pose threat to the lives and personal safety of the interview board members.
The varsity has turned down the RTI query in this regard citing section 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act which pertains to ‘information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes’.
Several candidates who had attended the assistant professor interviews had approached the varsity seeking interview marks of the selected candidates following allegations that there has been violation of norms and nepotism in the ongoing faculty appointments.
The reply to the RTI query denying the request was provided by assistant registrar K Abdul Rasaq. The varsity’s reply also mentions that the interview marks cannot be provided as it pertains to third parties.
Meanwhile, UDF-affiliated syndicate member Rasheed Ahammed P said that it was strange that the varsity has invoked a provision in the RTI Act which is not normally used to turn down an RTI query in an academic institution.
“It shows that the varsity doesn’t want the interview marks awarded to candidates to come out in public as that would expose possible violation of norms and whether the three-point criteria for awarding marks, including for research experience, ICT-enabled teaching proficiency, etc. have been followed by the interview board,” Ahammed said.
He added that interview marks of candidates do not come under the purview of confidential information as it is placed at the syndicate meeting. There have been instances of colleges and university providing the interview marks to RTI applicants before, he said.
Ahammed added that the varsity has been keeping the entire selection process under wraps and even the syndicate members have not been provided the reservation roster governing the appointments.
The Central Information Commission had earlier pulled up the authorities of the Banaras Hindu University for taking recourse to Section 8(1)(g) merely as a pretext to deny information.
The order by the CIC had said that ‘Through this order the Commission now wants to send the message loud and clear that quoting provisions of Section 8 of the RTI Act ad libitum to deny the information requested for, by CPIVs/ Appellate Authorities without giving any justification or grounds as to how these provisions are applicable is simply unacceptable and clearly amounts to malafide denial of legitimate information attracting penalties under section 20(1) of the Act.’

RTI reply on staff shortage not for courts: Health dept

Times of India: Ahmedabad: Tuesday, 13 April 2021.
“This information is not for court use,” a stamped seven page RTI reply by the government-run New Civil Hospital at Majura Gate in Surat city admits that nearly 188 of its 244 essential technical assistant positions, essential for Covid management at the hospital junior pharmacists, lab technicians, lab assistants, operation theatre assistants along with 34 other positions are empty. Also some 122 nursing staff positions are yet to be filled against the approval for 742 nursing positions. In times of the pandemic, the new civil hospital happens to be one of the hospitals at the centre of Covid management in Surat city. The RTI also reveals how posts like medical superintendent and even a resident superintendent are left vacant.
“How is information related to a health crisis in Gujarat provided to a citizen under RTI Act not for court use? Does the government mean that a citizen be discouraged from approaching courts with this information that explains where the state’s resources should go? Has the government been directed by courts any time that information under RTI Act should not be placed before the courts? If so, then where is the written order?” asks RTI applicant Alpesh Bhavsar from Relief Road. Bhavsar had filed a series of RTI petitions highlighting the large government vacancies across government hospitals in the state over the past seven months. The RTI reply Bhavsar received also reveals that at the new civil hospital, all of the assistant professors, numbering 23-25 posts are appointed on temporary basis. A senior medical officer in the state health department told TOI that all RTI applications will be stamped, “Not for court use” as per official orders.

Monday, April 12, 2021

अगर आरटीआई के तहत चाहिए जानकारी, तो देने होंगे 13 लाख 20 हजार रूपए

आउटलुक: छत्तीसगढ़: Monday, 12 April 2021.
छत्तीसगढ़ में सूचना का अधिकार अधिनियम के तहत छत्तीसगढ़ राज्य अक्षय ऊर्जा विकास अभिकरण (क्रेडा) ने जानकारी देने के लिए आवेदक को 13 लाख रूपए 20 हजार रूपए का डिमांड नोट भेजा है।
राज्य में संभवत आरटीआई के तहत जानकारी देने के लिए इतनी भारी भरकम राशि का डिमांड नोट दिए जाने का यह पहला मामला है। आरटीआई आवेदक को इसके समेत उसके तीन आवेदनों पर कुल 17 लाख 20 हजार रूपए का डिमांड नोट भेजा गया है।
आरटीआई कार्यकर्ता उचित शर्मा ने क्रेडा में सौर सुजला योजना के तहत निविदा प्रक्रिया, चयनित फर्म की सूची और आर्डर के लिए फर्म के चयन का आधार और कार्यादेश, प्रदायकर्ता संस्था का नाम, पता, भुगतान से संबंधित दस्तावेजों की जानकारी एक आवेदन देकर मांगी। इसके जवाब में क्रेडा में आवेदक को इस मामले में 6 लाख 60 हजार पेजों के दस्तावेज होने की बात कहते हुए प्रति पेज के दो रूपए के हिसाब से 13 लाख 20 हजार रूपए शुल्क जमा करने का डिमांड नोट भेजा है।
शर्मा के एक अन्य आवेदन पर क्रेडा ने इसी तरह एक लाख 50 हजार पेज के लिए तीन लाख और इसी तरह से एक और आवेदन के लिए 50 हजार पेज के दस्तावेज होने की जानकारी देते हुए इसमें एक लाख जमा करने कहां गया है। शर्मा ने इतने भारी भरकम डिमांड नोट पर सवाल उठाते हुए कहा है कि जानकारी इतने पेज की है विभाग ने इसकी गणना कैसे की।उऩ्होने कहा कि भारी भरकम डिमांड नोट विभाग द्वारा जानकारी मांगने वाले को हतोत्साहित करने के लिए जारी किया गया है।
सूचना आयुक्त अशोक अग्रवाल ने इस बारे में मीडिया के पूछे जाने पर कहा कि सामान्य श्रेणी के आवेदकों को जानकारी देने के लिए कोई विभाग कितनी भी बड़ी राशि का डिमांड नोट भेज सकता है।इसके लिए कोई पाबंदी नही है। उऩ्होने कहा कि डिमांड नोट देना सही है, लेकिन आवेदक चाहे तो वह दस्तावेज लेने के स्थान पर अवलोकन करने का आवेदन करने का आवेदन कर सकता है।

Raipur RTI activist asked to cough up Rs 17.20 lakh for acquiring info on welfare scheme

New Indian Express: Raipur: Monday, 12 April 2021.
An RTI applicant got the shock of his life after the Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) asked him to pay Rs 17.20 lakh for the information he sought regarding the process that was followed in the execution of the Saur Sujala Yojana.
Uchit Sharma, the applicant, is now contacting his acquaintances to get financial support.
Saur Sujala Yojana, the welfare scheme launched by PM Narendra Modi in Chhattisgarh in 2016, is aimed at providing solar-powered irrigation pumps to farmers at a subsidised price.
“It’s very disappointing when one needs to cough up huge amount to public offices to access information and ascertain the transparency process been followed in the functioning of the government institution. I just asked CREDA for the processes followed under Saur Sujala Yojana, about the suppliers and how the scheme benefited the farmers,” said Sharma.
The agency responded stating that the relevant details he has sought are available on the payment of Rs 17.20 lakh to procure the requisite documents from the concerned office.
According to the CREDA public information officer (PIO) Abhishek Shukla, the obtainable information is extensive and also the documents are to be gathered from various offices. “So, only after he deposits the given amount, the process of procuring the relevant information will start,” the PIO averred.
“We worked out the details as per the questions raised by the applicant. The required number of pages turned out to be huge. For each pump given to a beneficiary, the payment and related details are available in around 22 pages. Around 40000 such pumps have been distributed so far during the duration sought in the application. We are not discouraging anyone,” said CREDA chief engineer Rajesh Trivedi.
Under the scheme of Saur Sujala, the solar-powered irrigation pumps of 3HP and 5HP capacity worth Rs 3.5 lakh and Rs 4.5 lakh are respectively distributed at subsidised price mostly to the marginal farmers and those belonging to scheduled tribes and scheduled caste.

Tamil Nadu: Why has State Information Commission recommended compulsory retirement for 9 IAS officers?

Free Press Journal: Chennai: Monday, 12 April 2021.
In an unprecedented and controversial order, the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission has recommended to the Chief Secretary to "compulsorily retire" nine IAS officers, who held the post of Teachers Recruitment Board between June 2011 and October 2020. The officers including seniors and relatively juniors were charged with not discharging their duty "with accountability and transparency" and repeating mistakes in the conduct of competitive examinations for recruiting teachers.
Information Commissioner Muthuraj in his order asked the Chief Secretary to record in the Annual Confidential Reports of the nine officers that they failed to ensure accountability and transparency while heading the TRB.
The order was passed on applications moved by some candidates contending that though they entered the correct answer in the multiple choice questions, it was marked as wrong denying them marks. Due to this they were not recruited.
Incidentally, an IAS officer Surjit Chaudhary against whom action was recommended had retired from service five years ago. He has questioned the competency of the Information Commission to pass orders recommending compulsory retirement for civil servants who are government by All India Services rules.
However, Muthuraj has held that the Commission derives such powers under the Right to Information Act.
"The TRB Chairmen failed to correct the wrong questions and answer keys and did not provide relief to the candidates. Due to the lack of accountability from the subject experts, professors, and higher officials of TRB, the recruitment exams were cancelled and recruitment could not be completed," he noted in his order.
A bureaucrat said the Information Commission can only penalise Public Information Officers for not providing information under the RTI Act and not disciplinary action against top officers.
Compulsory retirement can be given only after due disciplinary process, he added.

Months after reminder, govt websites yet to be updated

Times of India: Panaji: Monday, 12 April 2021.
Despite two circulars issued by the department of information and technology (IT), most government and semi-autonomous departments continue to ignore the directives to update their websites. The lackadaisical approach of several government departments not only exposes the government’s tall claims about e-governance but also denies citizens’ access to essential information during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Aside from some of the information being outdated, some of the government department websites are non-functional. Websites for the directorate of urban development, information and publicity and fisheries were either down or redirected to other portals.
Though Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserrate’s son, Rohit, was sworn in as the mayor of the capital on March 30, on the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) website Uday Madkaikar continues to be the mayor. That is not the only site where Madkaikar’s reign continues. On the Imagine Panaji Smart City Development website Madkaikar is shown as the mayor while IAS officer Hemant Kumar as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Smart City Mission, even though 2011 batch IAS officer Ravi Dhawan took over in December last year.
In September and December last year, the IT department issued reminders to government departments and government corporations to update their websites and provide information in a time-bound manner.
In February this year, the Investment Promotion Board (IPB) urged government departments to keep the IT department informed about changes to online services, particularly for companies and entrepreneurs such as licenses and clearances, so that IPB can keep investors informed.
In July 2018, then chief minister Manohar Parrikar had asked Goa Electronics Limited to monitor all government websites and to ensure that they are kept updated.
Despite this, a majority of government departments fail to upload notifications and circulars on their relevant websites.
“Section 4 of the Right to Information Act mandates that all information should be uploaded and regularly updated on all government websites,” social activist Aires Rodrigues said. “The lackadaisical approach of the government in not complying with the mandate of the RTI Act defeats the very purpose of the Act which was enacted for the welfare of the masses and meant to usher in transparency in the functioning of government institutions. There is a concern that the websites are intentionally kept non-functional only to deny the public their rightful access to information,” Rodrigues added.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

‘Send 9 IAS officers on compulsory retirement’

The Hindu: Chennai: Sunday, 11 April 2021.
In a rare order, the Tamil Nadu Information Commission has recommended “compulsory retirement” to nine IAS officers in the State, who held the post of Chairman, Teachers’ Recruitment Board, between June 2011 and October 2020.
Asking the Chief Secretary to record in the annual confidential reports of the nine officers that they failed to ensure accountability and transparency while heading the TRB, State Information Commissioner S. Muthuraj recommended that disciplinary action be initiated as per rules and they be sent on “compulsory retirement”.
The case pertains to the recruitment of teachers/assistant professors through competitive examinations conducted by the TRB on various occasions. The contention of some candidates who moved the TNIC was that though they entered correct answers in the multiple choice questions, they were marked wrong, denying them marks and resulting in them not getting the jobs.
Expressing concern that a lack of accountability and transparency had resulted in the same mistakes being repeated in the conduct of competitive examinations, particularly in the TRB, Mr. Muthuraj directed the TRB Chairman to implement the TNIC’s order to provide full and complete information sought by the petitioners (who sought to know why they were not given marks despite entering the correct answers and also the material on the basis of which the answer keys were finalised) and initiate action against those responsible for preparing the wrong answer keys.
He said officials in the TRB not just failed to address the issue despite court and TNIC orders, but they had also not taken steps to make sure such anomalies do not recur. Had the authorities concerned published the relevant study material or books on the basis of which answers were finalised at the time of releasing the tentative answer keys and acted as per the National Litigation Policy or the State Litigation Policy, cases before courts and the TNIC could have been avoided, he said.
Invoking various provisions under the Right to Information Act, 2005, Mr. Muthuraj, after citing various dereliction of duties on the part of the IAS officers who held the post of Chairman, TRB, wrote to the Chief Secretary, recommending that they be sent on “compulsory retirement”.
Questions raised
Civil servants, both serving and retired, dismiss the recommendation as one that does not seem to be sound, and point out that such a recommendation is “not binding” on the government. One of the IAS officers recommended for “compulsory retirement” retired over five years ago.
Pointing out that one of the rules governing the All-India Services relates to effecting compulsory retirement in respect of those who have completed 15 years of qualifying service or 25 years of qualifying service or attain the age of 50, they said the option of “compulsory retirement” could be used in respect of any officer only after carrying out a review of the officer’s performance, and that too, recording adverse observations at least on three occasions. A few of the IAS officers do not get covered under the rule, as they are young.
If “compulsory retirement” is to be given as a mark of punishment, there is a separate disciplinary process to be undertaken, even though there is a divergent opinion with regard to treating compulsory treatment as punishment. However, it is the government that has to decide whether to initiate disciplinary proceedings or not. At best, the TNIC could have recommended to the government to initiate disciplinary action, the civil servants said.

Info panel recommends compulsory retirement to 9 IAS officers

The Times of India: Chennai: Sunday, 11 April 2021.
In an unprecedented order, the state information commission has recommended that the state government compulsorily retire nine IAS officers who had headed the Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) from 2011 to 2019. This is for "not discharging their duty with accountability and transparency", said an order passed by Information Commissioner S Muthuraj on March 25.
Muthuraj wrote to the state chief secretary recommending action against Surjit K Chaudhary, Vibhu Nayar, Kakarla Usha, D Jagannathan, K Srinivasan, K Nandakumar, S Jayandhi, N Venkatesh and G Latha.
When TOI asked chief secretary Rajeev Ranjan about the order, he said: "We will examine and take appropriate suitable action after getting the recommendations."
However, officials said information commission do not have powers to recommend compulsory retirement of IAS officers. "This is a very, very weird order. It was passed without any application of mind," said Surjit Chaudhary, who was the chairman of TRB from 2011 to 2014. The board has recruited around 40,000 teachers during his tenure and he retired five years ago.
"The information commission can recommend disciplinary action against only the information officers designated as per the RTI act if they do not provide information. Further, they cannot prescribe the punishment as it is the prerogative of the state government. In the case of IAS officers, the disciplinary authority is the Government of India," he said.
"Despite holding powers, the chairmen failed to correct the wrong questions and answer keys and did not provide relief to the candidates. Due to the lack of accountability from the subject experts, professors, and higher officials of TRB, the recruitment exams are cancelled and recruitment could not be completed, thereby wasting the resources of the government," Muthuraj said in his order.
Further, the commission as per the RTI act section 19 (8) (a) (ii) has added the TRB chairman as the public information officer and directed him to provide the information sought by the petitioner within 20 days.

RTI: Goa authority showed green flag to 99.3% felling tree cut requests

The Indian Express: Panaji: Sunday, 11 April 2021.
In the last ten years, the Tree Authority in Goa has allowed 99.3 per cent of the applications it received for felling of trees and rejected 0.3 per cent, a PIL filed before the High Court of Bombay at Goa has claimed, based on analysis of data received under the Right to Information Act (RTI).
The PIL filed by Living Heritage Foundation, a Goa-based NGO, has also stated that Goa has lost over 77,000 trees as the Tree Authority in the two districts of the state has failed to ensure replantation of the trees by the applicants who were allowed to fell trees. The information that the petitioner received under RTI, also showed that the Tree Authority had overseen the replantation of 13,000 trees but has no data on the survival of the replanted trees.
Earlier this week, the High Court issued notices to the Tree Authority of North Goa and that of South Goa and asked them to file an affidavit giving the court a status report and the number of pending applications for tree felling in the state by April 28.
The PIL also states that between January 2010 and June 2019, the Tree Authority that, as mandated under the Goa Preservation of Trees Act, 1984 should have met 38 times, if it held meetings at least once every three months. However, the Tree Authority had not met even once since 2012, the petitioner contended and alleged that it had been “dormant, non-functioning and failed to discharge its duties”. The High Court has also asked the state government to inform the court whether the tree authorities are functional or not.
Between January 2010 and June 2019, 4041 applications were filed before the state forest department for felling as many as 88,978 trees. Of these 2,537 applications were allowed while 19 were rejected, the PIL states. The remaining 1,444 applications are pending.
The PIL has urged the court to restrain the authority from permitting any further felling of trees for public or private infrastructure projects except in cases in which there is grave danger to life, property or traffic. It has also asked the court to direct the state government to conduct a tree census in Goa and display the information at the Forest Department.

CIC raps Delhi University’s College of Vocational Studies for denying info to RTI applicant

The Indian Express: New Delhi: Sunday, 11 April 2021.
After a Right to Information (RTI) reply was denied to a teacher by the College of Vocational Studies (CVS) regarding the alleged “irregularities” in the purchase of library books, the Central Information Commission (CIC) said the college seemed to be “withholding information” and had “failed to regard the tenets of probity and transparency”.
The Indian Express had reported in September 2020 on how 180 books worth Rs 1 lakh had been bought for the library but never reached it. In March this year, Retd Delhi High Court judge, Justice S N Dhingra, upheld that there had been “irregularities” and indicted the principal for hushing up the matter.
The appellant, Anand Kumar, had filed the RTI in March 2019 seeking details of the date of purchase of the books, their accession numbers, and the exchange rate at which foreign books were purchased among other things, for the period 2010-18.
In response, the CPIO (Central Public Information Officer) said, “It is to be mentioned that the information requested by the applicant is not maintained in the manner requested by the applicant as it is not required to be maintained for the day to day functioning of the college. Compilation of such information exclusively for the applicant would disproportionately divert the resources of the office concerned which is not required under the Act.”
After the first appeal also didn’t yield a response, Kumar then filed the second appeal with the CIC. In her decision on April 5, Information Commissioner Saroj Punhani said that even if the college did not have information in the format that it was asked, CVS should have “offered an inspection of the available and relevant form of records to the Appellant in his original reply itself to uphold the letter and spirit of the RTI Act”.
“The outright refusal of the CPIO to provide the information, even the information about the exchange rate of the books, regarding which a relevant input has been provided by the Respondent only before the hearing, suggests a rather evasive and laboured approach of the Respondent office in withholding the information given the alleged context in which the instant RTI Application has been filed by the Appellant,” she said.
“The Respondent office through its CPIO has failed to regard the tenets of probity and transparency particularly in a matter which has been clearly inviting the ire of the teacher and student community of CVS,” she said.
While Kumar had asked for data for eight years, the CIC said information for 2016-18 should be made available for his inspection on a “mutually decided date and time”.
“The said directions should be complied with by the CPIO within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order and a compliance report to this effect be duly sent to the Commission stipulating the details of the inspection provided and copy of the documents provided thereof,” Punhani said.
The Commission also “advised” the Vice-Chancellor and CVS principal to look into the matter.
While Delhi University Vice-Chancellor P C Joshi could not be reached for comment, Principal Inderjeet Dagar said, “I have directed the CPIO to look into the matter as per the directions of the CIC and the said process is ongoing, and we are also seeking legal recourse on the same. The college has always respected the spirit of the RTI and always provided information even to serial applicants filing as many as 500 RTI applications.”

Eight elephants have died due to train hits

The Hindu: Coimbatore: Sunday, 11 April 2021.
Eight elephants were killed after being hit by trains on the two railway lines, A and B, between Kanjikode and Madukkarai from 2016 to 2021, according to the Palakkad division of the Southern Railway.
In reply to a query under the Right to Information Act, the division said the A and B lines passed through the forest and seven of the eight elephant deaths were reported on the B line.
The division said there was no plan to shift the track on the B line, which passed through a dense forest. It furnished the reply to R. Pandiyaraja of Pavoorchatram, in Tenkasi district, in response to his application under the RTI Act.
According to the division, widening of cutting and cess were done at various places to create sufficient space for elephants to move away on seeing trains.
While ₹2.43 crore was spent on widening of cutting on the sides of the track from track location 513/500 to 519/400 B in 2017, a sum of ₹1.59 crore was awarded for widening of cutting on a 5-km stretch from track location 500 to 505 B in 2020. A tender for further widening of the cutting from track location 510 to 512/500 and 487 to 492 B at a cost of ₹3.1 crore is under finalisation, the division said.
Sign boards to warn loco pilots, clearance of vegetation on the sides of the track, speed restriction on vulnerable sections (65 kmph during daytime and 45 kmph during night), elephant ramps on high embankments, lights to ward off elephants in cuttings, installation of audio alarms in the form of honey bee buzzing and a WhatsApp group of Railways and Forest Department officials were among other the measures taken to avoid elephants being hit by trains, said the division.
“Suspension of traffic on the track on B line during the night and bringing the track on B line to the A line, which passes through considerably smaller patches of forest, are other solutions that can reduce such accidents,” added Mr. Pandiyaraja.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Public institutions to submit annual report to RTI Commission by May 6

News Ghana: Ghana: Saturday, 10 April 2021.
The Right to Information Commission has asked all Public Institutions to submit a written report on their activities as required under Section 77 of the Right to Information Act, Act 989 on or before May 6, 2021.
In a statement signed and issued by Mr Yaw Sarpong Boateng, Executive Secretary of the Right to Information Commission, said any public institution that failed to comply with the directive will suffer penalty thereof.
The statement said the public institutions should include in their report the following:
  1. The number of applications for information during the reporting period, January 2020 to December 2020.
  2. The number of applications approved and the number rejected together with reasons for the rejection.
  3. The number of reviews requested, and the number granted and the number dismissed together with reasons.
  4. The number of applications to the court for judicial review and the results of the reviews, if any.
  5. Such other matters that are worth noting under the Act.
“Public institutions are to note that these reports are to be submitted to the Commission sixty (60) days after the 31st December each year.
“All public institutions are entreated to comply or suffer the penalties thereof,” it said.
Reports can be sent by email: Rico mission or by postal address P.O.BOX YK 1179, Kanda-Accra.

Three held for bomb attack on RTI activist

Times of India: Bhubaneswar: Saturday, 10 April 2021.
Police on Thursday arrested three persons in connection with an attack on RTI activist and BJP leader Sarbeswar Beura in Jajpur district on March 27.
All three had hurled bombs at Beura at Imam Nagar under Dharmasala police station when he was returning home in Jaraka along with an associate in a car. He was first admitted to the community health centre at Dharamsala and then shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, after his condition turned serious.
The motive behind the attack is yet to be established. The men were booked under sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC and sections 3 and 5 of the explosives act. Steps are on to apprehend more persons in this case, said Rahul P R, SP Jajpur.