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News : RTI Helpline Hit Among People Clueless on Query-filing Process
Madurai, India, Oct 16, 2015 — More than 50 people have called the helpline launched on Monday by the Tamil Nadu RTI Awareness Movement in the city, seeking help to file queries under the Act. State organizer of the movement K Hakkim said that they had held the first meeting of the movement on October 12, the day RTI Act was passed in 2005.
In the meeting, the helpline was introduced to help those who want to file RTI applications. The movement has plans to come out with a toll free number soon. A call centre has been set up to receive the calls and record the details and problems of the caller. People at the call centre will fill in the RTI application and send it to the applicant for his signature. The application will then be send to the concerned department.
About 600 activists from throughout the state participated in the meeting and they resolved to ask the government to take steps to popularize the RTI Act with the help of public figures like actors.
Hakkim said that they had decided to form the movement as it would provide support and protection to the activists, who were threatened for filing their queries.
The meeting also demanded adequate compensation for the activists who lost their lives or were affected for taking up the cause of the people by filing RTI queries.
Often RTI applicants are harassed for filing queries. This should be stopped and steps should be taken to protect the identity of the applicant, if he or she wants it.
"We organised an exhibition on the RTI applications filed by us and also the replies received for them. People who came to the exhibition were impressed. They said that they did not know that there was a way to seek replies to problems, he said.
Activists say many a time they do not get a proper reply for some RTI queries. So, they have decided to file 'mass' applications for the same query so that the department concerned would be forced to reply. On Thursday, villagers from Valliyoor in Tirunelveli district had sought help of the movement to find out what happened to the funds to the tune of Rs one crore deposited in a local bank for obtaining water pipeline connections over a year ago.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, October 19, 2015