Skip to main content

Gujarat Information Commission raps SSNNL: Provide information in 48 hrs

CIC Balwant Singh
By Our Representative
In an order major policy implication, Gujarat's chief information commissioner (CIC) has said that officials of the Gujarat government must respond to a right to information (RTI) query involving “question of life and liberty” within 48 hours, instead of keeping things pending. And, the CIC added, if the entire information is not there, “the available information should be provided within 48 hours” while rest of it could be “furnished expeditiously.”
Responding to a complaint by Pankti Jog of the Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP) over failure of the state body Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) to respond to a query of “untimely” release of Narmada canal waters into Banas river in North Gujarat, which led to the death of a woman, CIC Balwant Singh said in the order, “If the respondent is of the opinion that the matter on which information has been sought does not involve the question of life and liberty, he should, in his reply, clearly specify the reasons for the same.”
The order further said, if the official is of the opinion that the matter on which information has been sought “does not involve the question of life and liberty”, in that case also complainant should be told within 48 hours that “information shall be provided within the maximum period of 30 days”, as required by the RTI law.
Pankti Jog
Rapping the SSNNL for not acting in accordance with the RTI law, which insists under section 7(1) that reply to the complainant should be provided within 48 hours from the date of receipt of the application if it on questions concerning “life and liberty”, Singh has has now sought the reply of the SSNNL's public information officer (PIO) in writing “within seven days” as to “why penalty under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act be not imposed on him”.
Jog in her complaint dated January 6, 2015 to the Gujarat Information Commission had said that she had sought information under RTI on November 29, 2014 from the PIO, SSNNL, Gandhinagar and the local PIO of the SSNNL office in Radhanpur about the reason for the “untimely” release of Narmada canal waters into Banas river, which in turn flooded with saltpans of the Little Rann of Kutch.
The release of water, she said, “risked” the life of more than 1,000 families in the Santalpur area of the Little Rann. In fact, she claimed, the release of water into Banas river and the Little Rann of Kutch led to “a situation of disaster.”
According to Jog, the saltpan workers or agariyas “had to be evacuated from the Rann, and in the process, one mother died while delivering the baby while she was being taken out of the Rann in emergency.”
She said, “As no information was given by the SSNNL regarding the next release of water, and since there was no assurance that they will not release water without informing the people living in the Little Rann well in advance, the life of more than 1,000 families was at risk.”
Narmada water "destroyed" saltpans in November 2014
Giving details to Counterview, Jog said, “In our RTI application we had also sought information on who exactly ordered the release of water from Narmda canal into Banas river, whether the saltpan workers and villagers were told in advance about it, whether there is any timetable for the release of water, and why couldn't easily readable boards not be put up for such release.”
She added, “No sooner the RTI query was put up in November-end 2014, the SSNNL became alert and stopped the release of water. Meanwhile, we were orally told by relevant officials that they were instructed to release water by someone in the top, and they were only obeying orders. Obviously, the SSNNL official found it difficult to name this person.”

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Did Netaji turn blind eye to Japanese massacre while in Andaman during World War-II?

Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani museum off Chandigarh By Rajiv Shah  Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ignore the massacre carried out by the Japanese army in Andaman and Nicobar islands during the Second World War? It would seem so, if one goes by the account of Mohinder Singh Dhillon, who authored a book in memory of his father, 'A Titan in the Andamans, Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani'. Dr Diwan Singh was tortured to death by the Japanese soldiers in the cellular jail in Andaman in 1944.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Modi's Gujarat 'ignores' India's biggest donor of Azad Hind Fauj, Dhoraji's Habib Sheth

By Dr Hari Desai* One surely feels happy that the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is being installed near the India Gate in New Delhi. Every Indian and even Netaji’s 79-year-old daughter Prof Anita Bose Pfaff feels happy about the statue at the most important area of the capital. In an interview with an Indian TV, Anita, who is a German citizen, mentions that she thinks if not Netaji’s only Mahatma Gandhi’s statue should have been there. She may be aware that there existed a plan to install life-sized statue of the Father of the Nation at that place.  Even after differences with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel which led Netaji to leave the Indian National Congress, Bose was the first person to call Mahtma Gandhi Father of the Nation on July 6,1944 in his Ragoon Radio broadcast, and sought Bapu’s blessings as the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army (INA). Till 1968 there was statue of King George V at India Gate. It was removed and placed in the Coronation Park, New Del

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Is it time to celebrate India's 'improved' sex ratio? Reasons to question NFHS data

By Aditi Chaudhary*  The recently published National Family Health Survey (NFHS) factsheet brought cheers amongst the public and the government. With Child Sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males in the age group 0 - 6 years) and overall sex ratio (the total number of females per 1000 males), both showing an improvement, NFHS-5 (2019-21) got applauded by all around.

Stop harassment, release Kashmir rights defender Khurram Parvez: Global NGO

By Our Representative  Ahead of his hearing on January 21, 2022, CIVICUS , a global civil society alliance with more than 10,000 members worldwide, has called upon the Government of India to “immediately and unconditionally” release human rights defender Khurram Parvez. “The judicial harassment he is facing highlights the repressive environment for activists and critics in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir”, it said in a statement.