By Alkesh Sharma, IANS,
Chandigarh : If you want information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, just visit a new web portal to find out how. The site has been set up – not by the government – but by people and groups in Chandigarh who want to spread awareness about this right.
The interactive online web portal – www.rightto.info – has come up thanks to the RTI Users Association which aims to form a strong network of RTI users across the country.
“We have constituted this forum so that RTI users from all over the country can exchange their knowledge and findings and interact among each other. This organisation will provide them an easy platform to run and support various activities that are of larger public interest,” Hemant Goswamy, coordinator of the association, told IANS.
He said the organisation, which is an initiative of likeminded people, is still in the nascent stage and will take some time to have a proper organisational structure in all the states. “However, we have initiated our activities from Punjab and Haryana,” he said.
Goswamy said any individual who is using the RTI could join them and upload his information on their website, which anyone can access. It also has a special section for youth to solve their queries and apprehensions regarding the RTI Act.
“We will also organise various activities, seminars, debates and discussions touching upon the burning topics that immediately concern our society at regular intervals,” Goswamy said.
“Anybody, whether he is using the RTI to highlight a corrupt and unlawful activity or for the betterment of society, can join us. We would work in the most transparent and responsible manner,” he added.
Kamal Anand, another member of the association, said: “The RTI Act is a valuable tool in the hands of the common man to make our government and bureaucracy more accountable towards their work and decisions.”
“Since its enactment, hundreds of scams and anomalies have been unearthed by the use of RTI. In the last four years, all the RTI users of the region had felt a need for greater interaction and further dissemination of knowledge about this act among the public,” he said.
The youth of the region are also very enthusiastic about the concept of this association.
“I have seen many things going wrong right under the nose of top officials of our administration, but we cannot do anything. Sometimes I wanted to seek information through RTI but dropped the idea as I was not aware of its procedure,” Radhika Rai, a journalism student here, told IANS.
“There are many friends of mine who were not using RTI because of similar reasons but now I guess we all have an easy solution for our problem,” she added.
Mayank Sharma, a young entrepreneur based here, said: “This association of RTI users is a unique thing in Chandigarh and I will certainly join it. I think the mere presence of such a group involving well-aware people will automatically make things better.”
(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])