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OSAA demands security for RTI activists


rti activistReported by Santosh Jagdev/Edited by Sandeep Sahu

Bhubaneswar, Oct 10:

Members of the Odisha Soochna Adhikar Abhiyan (OSAA) on Thursday demanded security for RTI activists, who are unearthing corrupt practices of Government officials and are helping to make people aware about their rights under the Act.

Addressing a press conference at the Lohia Academy here, OSAA convener Pradip Pradhan demanded
stringent action against Balisahipatna sarpanch Tapas Sahu of Rajnagar block in Kendrapada district for manhandling RTI activist Jayant Parida of the same district on Tuesday.

The sarpanch had also attacked a Village Level Worker (VLW) and a clerk when they defended the activist. The VLW was rushed to district headquarters hospital and was later shifted to the SCB Medical College and hospital. The police are yet to nab the culprit, alleged Pradhan.

Right to Information Act (RTI) still remains out of the reach of the common people in the state due to the State Government’s apathetic attitude, the members alleged. The State government, they pointed out, has failed to provide information in the Odia language, which has posed problems for those not conversant with English.

The members said the RTI Act has many complexities and it creates barrier in accessing information most of the time. Till July this year, 19,000 cases have been disposed out of total 23,000 cases registered with the State
Information Commission. But it does not give a true picture since it does not include the 6000 cases, which were closed after being sent to the first Appellate Authority without hearing, the members said.

The Commission has failed to implement the act in an effective manner, alleged the OSAA members adding that 50 complaints had been registered against members of the Commission for not taking appropriate action against violators of the act.