Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TN stationery dept gives vague replies to RTI

TN stationery dept gives vague replies to RTI

Jeeva, TNN, Nov 15, 2010, 04.23 am IST

CHENNAI: A Sugumar has spent the last two years since he retired as deputy works manager in the Tamil Nadu printing and stationery department trying to pin responsibility for financial irregularities in his former workplace.

Since September 2008, he's filed close to 15 applications under the Right To Information (RTI) Act to get the names of the officials who caused a loss of Rs 63 lakh to the exchequer in 2006, but the department has been giving him evasive replies.

"I want the authorities to furnish the names of the officials involved in three specific irregularitiesexcess procurement of 66 tonnes of manifolding paper to the tune of Rs 43 lakh, non-distribution of state government diaries leading to a loss of Rs 20 lakh and sale of eight tonnes of waste registers and election forms to a private firm in violation of the government's guidelinesin 2006," says Sugumar.

To his query on the excess procurement of manifolding paper, the department in its reply on October 22, 2010, said action was being taken against the officials concerned. The public information officer gave a similar reply to his query pertaining the non-distribution of state government diaries in 2006. "Disciplinary action was taken against the officials concerned and it is pending. Disclosure of details about action taken cannot be revealed as per sections 8(h) and 9 of the RTI Act since it will cause hindrance to the disciplinary proceedings," reads the reply dated August 30, 2010.

The department's reply to the RTI application questioning the sale of old registers and election forms to a private firm in violation the government's guidelines that say waste paper has to be sold to the Tamil Nadu Khadi and Village Industries Board was not very different. It said steps were being taken to get an explanation from the officials concerned and a separate report would be sent to the government.

Unfazed by the string of evasive replies, Sugumar had filed another RTI application last month asking the department to furnish him proper replies with the names of the officials against whom actions were initiated.

And the reply was the same. "Disciplinary actions were initiated against those who were involved in the irregularities. Explanations were obtained from the officials concerned and further action is being taken," the department said in its one paragraph reply.

Sugumar, who was working in the department for 39 years, has now filed an appeal with the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission

Courtesy_

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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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