Most government offices either don’t have the public information board or don’t update their officers’ lists, leading to confusion
As per the RTI Act of 2005, it is mandatory for every government office or institution to “provide a directory of its employees and officers complete with names, details and contact numbers available to the public.” This rule, the most basic of all rules on citizens’ right to information, is barely adhered to.
In addition to the frequent absence of its employees, the Public Information Board is never seen nor heard of in any of the government offices. On enquiry, some are even astounded to know of its existence. At government offices, common sense has always taken the backseat.
The HMWS&SB office at Khairatabad is host to at least 3,000 visitors a day. The Board that caters to the water and sewerage demands of the capital city has no trace of a Public Information Board that can help you contact your required officer. The PRO at the office said, “We have received complaints in the past and currently we are in the process of setting it up. Until then, people are free to approach us and we will provide them the necessary information.”
Although the GHMC head office has shown a great initiative by posting all the details related to Public Information, many of its divisional offices continue to cause confusion, thanks to the absence of a Public Information Board within their premises. The Khairatabad Municipal Corporation office is another prime example of chaos prevailing in government offices. Forget a Public Information Board, there is not even an enquiry desk here, your only guide through the many mazes of the office are the reclusive guards and clerks.
Joining the league elsewhere are the postal departments that have lagged behind in updating themselves. The contact details on the Public Information Board are absent in the Chandanagar Postal department office. For a while, these boards have been hidden from view and despite repeated complaints, they have not been put up to public attention. A visitor at the post office, Shakeel Ahmed says, “There is no name plate or board that helps us know who we need to approach. Sometimes, it’s impossible to tell if the officer we need to speak to is missing or away from duty.”
The district consumer forum is perhaps a highlight in its own way. The Chandravihar building that hosts among others, the consumer forum, is devoid of any sign that indicates the presence of the consumer forum here. More surprisingly, the forum does not have a help desk or an enquiry counter.
P Ramakrishna, an RTI activist says, “It is mandatory for any government office or department to put up a Public Information Board. Some of the postal offices in Chandanagar and Serilingampally do not even have a Public Information Officer in-charge. Also, after the scheduled transfers of officials, the boards are not updated and neither are the websites.”
He alleges, that many RTIs filed with the HMDA have been forwarded by the PIO to some other concerned officials and within this myriad maze, these requests have not been replied to. Updating websites is also another task that has slipped our civil servants’ attention. Centre for Good Governance site, for instance, has YSR as the CM. Need we say more?
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