Almost a year-and-a-half of repeated efforts have not helped Pune-based RTI activist Rajesh Shende get information from the mining department regarding an auction held for lifting sand from River Neera at Girwi in Indapur taluk here. On Thursday,he was given a new date ¿ March 12 ¿ for hearing his case.
Shende had filed an application under the Right to Information Act to get details about the auction held on November 26,2007 – who conducted it,the highest bid,whether the winning bidder credited the money to the Government treasury and if not,what action was taken against the person. However,he was sent a letter mentioning that no information was available.
“How can officers give such answers? Is it not manipulating the records?” said Shende who is not willing to give up and has been following up his case for the last 14 months.
Shende said he had information from sources that the auction was finalized for Rs 85 lakh,but the person who placed the winning bid had not paid the auction money. “The sand was taken from the river without the money being paid to the government,” said Shende.
He filed the application as it meant huge losses for the Government. The information officer with the mining and minerals department at the district collector’s office avoided answering the RTI application and on January 7,the officer said documents related to the matter could not be found in office,Shende said.
He then filed an appeal to the appellate authority for the information as well as wrote a letter to the revenue minister and the district collector for initiating an inquiry into the matter.