The Haryana State Information Commission has asked additional deputy commissioners (ADCs) of 18 districts to appear before the panel on October 12 to prevent further action by the commission in a matter related to the issue of stray cattle. Those asked to appear include 10 IAS officers and 8 state civil services (HCS) officers.
“They are directed to appear before the commission in person along with their written reply, failing which the commission would be forced to bring the matter to their higher authorities,” said State Information Commissioner Jai Singh Bishnoi in an order passed on July 23. RTI activist P P Kapoor had sought information related to the status of the ‘Stray cattle free’ campaign in Haryana. When he did not get complete information, he approached the commission.
Kapoor said the commission had asked the ADCs of all districts to appear before the panel on February 3. “When the officers did not appear on February 3, they were asked to appear before the commission on July 23. But only ADCs of Palwal, Faridabad, Fatehabad and Mahendragarh appeared before the commission,” said Kapoor.
Now, ADCs who have been asked to appear before the panel on October 12 are, Munish Sharma (Sonipat), Priti (Panipat), Anish Yadav (Hisar), Ashok Bansal (Karnal), Vikram (Nuh), Manoj Kumar (Bhiwani), Uttam Singh (Sirsa), Mohd. Ibran Raza (Charkhi Dadri), Rahul Hooda (Rewari), Prashant Panwar (Gurugram), Jagdeep Dhanda (Ambala), Veena Hooda (Kurukshetra), Mahenderpal (Rohtak), Satbir Kundu (Kaithal), Manita Malik (Panchkula), Jagniwas (Jhajjar), Satender Doon (Jind) and the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Yamunanagar.
Kapoor has been fighting to procure complete information related to the issue of stray cattle. The commission noted that in compliance with its previous orders, only the ADCs of Faridabad, Palwal, Mahendragarh and Fatehabad were present in the commission on July 23 during hearing of the matter. “Additional deputy commissioners of the rest of the districts have not appeared despite our due notice to them. The show-cause notices were sent to to all ADCs in the state vide letter dated May 27, 2020. The non-appearance of ADCs is viewed seriously by the commission. The commission decides to grant a chance to the ADCs of the state (except Palwal, Faridabad, Fatehabad and Mahendragarh) to appear in person and file their written reply to the showcause notices issued to them,” mentioned Bishnoi in his order.
According to the RTI activist, the ADCs were appointed chairmen of the district level ‘stray cattle free’ committees in 2018. Kapoor said that in many places, these committees did not even hold meetings for the past two years. “In these circumstances, many officers are trying to evade the responsibility of sharing the information,” alleged Kapoor.
The activist informed the commission that the office of DGP, Director of Animal Husbandry Department and the office of Gau Sewa Ayog has provided him complete information.
In response to the RTI application filed by Kapoor, police had earlier stated that conflicts with stray cattle have claimed as many as 241 lives in the state in the past two years. Between January 1, 2018, and March 2, 2020, a maximum of 40 persons died in Fatehabad district while stray cattle claimed 36 lives in Ambala district. This number was 23 for Kaithal and Sirsa while 19 persons died in Hisar district and 16 persons lost their lives in Panchkula district.
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