Information seekers in Bihar are facing a tough time eliciting information from state-run organisations through the Right to Information (RTI) provision. Apparently, information is being denied to them on frivolous ground. Last month, a Patna-based lawyer, Manibhushan Pratap, who had filed an RTI query with the “Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam (BRPNN)”, a company that is entrusted with building bridges in Bihar and is headed by Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, was denied information. Officials in the organisation had neither the required manpower nor time to collect information sought by Pratap.
Pratap had sought details of bridges, with a project cost of over Rs 50 lakh, which were built and were being built by the company in Bihar since 2010.
“I had asked for details of bridges being constructed. I had asked about the time when the projects were supposed to be completed, the locations and the engineers engaged in these projects. My objective was to find out about the delays the organisation does in completing bridges. To my surprise, in their reply, they told me that the answers I had sought were too much and that they do not have either the time or the manpower to arrange response to my RTI query,” Pratap said. He had filed the RTI in January this year to which reply was given in July. As per RTI rules, a government officer is bound to submit a reply within a month.
In its reply, BRPNN public information officer had said the information sought was not “specific”. However, Pratap said the question was specifically about bridges.