`West Bengal barely aware of right to information’

July 1st, 2008 - 10:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 1 (IANS) West Bengal is barely aware of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and treats the state information commission as a mere grievance cell, state chief information commissioner Arun Kumar Bhattacharyya said here Tuesday. “West Bengal is quantitatively lagging behind rest of the states in terms of exercising the RTI Act. Of the one million applications in 2007 received by the department across India, only 15,000 were from West Bengal, and that too most of them were complaints against various government departments,” Bhattacharyya told reporters here.

Stating the reasons for this lack of awareness, he said: “While the act was implemented in June 2005, it was introduced in West Bengal in December 2005. This act is meant for people of the grassroots too and hence, two years is not enough to take it to the interiors of rural Bengal.”

As a remedy to this, he said his department is in talks with the Gram Panchayats, and rural development department.

“Besides we have joined hands with professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt Ltd to chalk out methods to popularise this act and evaluate the results regularly,” he added.

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