Press Releases

22 February 2007

Press Release No. 106/07

APPRECIATION OF THE RTI ACT

Mr. S. C. Iangrai made an application for information to the PIO, Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), Shillong pertaining to the revenue matters of the Shella Village Dorbar under the Right to Information Act, 2005 on 6.7.2006. The Revenue Officer of the Council, dealing with the application directed the applicant to approach the Shella Village Dorbar directly as it does not fall within the public authority under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The applicant then made the first appeal before the Designated Appellate Authority (DAA) of the KHADC against the decision of the Revenue Officer of the council. The DAA over-ruled the decision of the Revenue Officer and clarified that the Shella Village Dorbar falls under the control and administrative jurisdiction of the KHADC and having such authority, the said Revenue Officer can direct the Shella Village Dorbar to furnish the information to the applicant.

The second appeal before the Commission was made by the Secretary, Shella Village Dorbar. The Secretary, Shella Village Dorbar made an appeal to set aside the decision of the DAA stating that the Right to Information Act did not specify such an authority as the DAA. The first appeal made before the DAA was against the PIO making his decision without giving the third party the right of hearing when a case involved a third party. Therefore, the order made by the DAA does not vitiate the proceedings. However, if any public authority has designated a senior officer for the purpose of hearing the appeal, it is sufficient whether he is called DAA or by any other designation. The appellant believed that Shella Action Committee is the requestor for information but it was confirmed through affidavit that the requestor was Mr. S. C. Iangrai. The appellant also presumed that the Revenue Officer of the Council is not the PIO appointed under the Act. However, Section 5(5) of the RTI Act reads that any person whose assistance has been requested by the public authority to discharge such duties shall be treated as PIO. The appellant assumed that the Shella Dorbar Shnong does not fall under the authority of the KHADC. He stated that the Autonomous District Council no longer has direct responsibility or direct control over the Village Headmen and the Village Dorbar in Khasi Hills. However, the appellant agreed that the Autonomous District Council needs to designate concerned local chiefs of the Elakas viz., Syiems, Sordars, Wahadadars etc. as Public Information Officers. The fact that KHADC has only one PIO for the whole Autonomous District shows that the provisions of the RTI Act is not fully appreciated.

The PIOs/DAAs decision that the appellant should collect the information from the third party is not intone with the contents of the Act. The PIO should collect the information from other subordinate offices of the public authority and make available the information sought to the applicant.

The Commission after studying the matter has asked the public authority of the KHADC to Appoint separate DAAs/PIOs for each administrative branch of the public authority, Involve the Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs of the Elakas under their control to facilitate collection and dissemination of information available with them or with the village authorities under their control, by appointing them as PIOs/APIOs of their respective Elakas, Consider third party interest incases involving third parties. The Garo Hills Autonomous District Council and the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council has also been asked to take similar necessary action.

In another case filed under the RTI Act with regard to Health Department, the Commission found out that the information supplied by the Department to the appellant was incomplete as supporting evidence have been supplied to the appellant but factual information have not been made available. The Commission ordered the PIO of Health Department to furnish complete information to the satisfaction of the appellant within the stipulated time failing which a penalty of Rs. 250/- per day will be imposed upon the PIO beginning form February 6, 2007 till information is furnish to the appellant.

Press Release No. 107/07

AAY AND BPL RICE DISTRIBUTED

The Deputy Commissioner (Supply), East Garo Hills District, Williamnagar, has informed to all the AAY and BPL card holders of the District that TPDS rice is being issued for both urban and rural areas for the month of January 2007 at the scale of 35 kg per card holder at the rate of Rs. 8.81 per kg of APL rice, Rs. 6.20 per kg of BPL rice and Rs. 3.00 per kg of AAY rice. In the meantime, S.K. Oil is being issued both rural and urban areas at the scale of 5 litres per household at the rate of Rs. 10.40 per litre.

Press Release No. 108/07

TOTAL SANITATION CAMPAIGN AT UMSNING

Dr. D. D. Lapang, Chairman Meghalaya Economic Development Council inaugurated a one day Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), Ri Bhoi District, on February 21, 2007 at the Umsning Auditorium, Umsning. Organised by the District Water and Sanitation Committee (DWSC), the campaign was attended by headmen from 60 villages and the public at large.

It may be noted that the TSC is a Central Government sponsored scheme which aimed at educating the rural people on the importance of sanitation in the society. An amount of Rs. 389.98 lakhs have been sanctioned for the District for the implementation of the scheme, out of which Rs. 244.68 lakhs is the centre share, Rs. 88.45 lakhs is the state share and Rs. 56.85 lakhs as beneficiaries’ share towards provision of household latrines for people living below poverty line, schools, anganwadi centres, community sanitary complex, etc, with water connection.

After the release of an amount of Rs. 73.4 lakhs as first installment, the DWSC has started the campaign with the construction of 589 dual household latrines, 97 school toilets, 12 anganwadi centres and 20 community sanitary complexes.

Stating that Ri Bhoi District have received a number of Central schemes in the past, Dr. Lapang, in his speech stressed on proper implementation of the scheme and urged upon the public to extend their cooperation to the government and the implementing departments for the general upliftment of the people.

The resource persons at the campaign included Mr. E. Kharmalki, Project Director, Mr. A. Lyngkhoi, EE, PHE, Smti. P. Passah, HRO, Smti. M. Wanniang, CDPO, Umsning, Mr. B. Ranee, President, RAWA, Smti. V. Lyngdoh, Sub-Inspector of Schools and Dr. Nongrum, M & HO, CHC Umsning.

Press Release No. 109/07

WORLD BROTHERHOOD DAY OBSERVED

To commemorate the joint birth anniversary of the founder of the Scouts and Guides, Lord Baden Powell and that of his wife, World Brotherhood Day & Thinking Day was observed today at the State Headquarters at Pine Mount Ridge, Shillong. The programme began with the hoisting of the two World Flags followed by speech from the District Commissioner, Mr. K. Kharkongor who graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.

As a mark of goodwill, an All Faith Prayer meeting was held wherein representatives from different faith offered prayers.

To mark the Centenary of Scouting and 150th Birth Anniversary of its founder, a giant Fleur-de-lis was made with shining coins which will be send to the World Brotherhood/Thinking Day Fund. A special challenge, the BP’s 22 Challenge – “Promise in Practice” was also launched to encourage the spirit of helping each other.

Press Release No. 110/07

PRICES OF ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES

The Director, Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Meghalaya, Shillong has informed that the following are the retail price (in kg/litre) of essential commodities as on February 21, 2007.

The retail price per kg of rice is Rs. 12.50/12.60 (Common), Rs. 12.50/13.00/- (Fine) and Rs. 14.00/- (Packet Parimal). The price per kg of Atta is Rs. 15.00/- and Maida is Rs. 17.00/18.00/-. The price per kg of Gramdal is Rs. 36.00/40.00 per kg. For Turdal, the retail price per kg is Rs. 34.00/- (Ahar), Rs. 28.00/Rs. 30.00 (Masur) and Rs. 45.00/Rs. 50.00 (Moong).The retail price of Urad (Whole) is Rs.45.00/- per kg. The price of Urad Dal is Rs. 35.00/40.00 per kg. The price of Sugar is Rs. 19.00/Rs. 20.00 per kg. The retail price of Mustard Oil is Rs. 55.00/Rs 58.00 per litre. The retail price of Vanaspati oil is Rs. 54.00/62.00 (loose) and Rs. 65.00 (packet). The retail price of Tea is Rs. 120.00/170.00 (loose) and Rs. 160.00/Rs. 196.00 (packed). The retail price of Potato is Rs. 06.00/Rs. 10.00 per kg. The retail price of Onion is Rs. 17.00/Rs. 18.00 per kg. The retail price of Salt is Rs. 04.00/Rs. 05.00 (loose) and Rs. 07.00/Rs. 09.00 (packet). The retail price of Gur is Rs. 22.00/Rs 26.00 per kg and the retail price of Milk (Toned milk) is Rs. 30.00 per litre. The retail price of Palm Oil is Rs. 50.00/53.00, Soya Oil is Rs. 53.00/55.00, Sun Flower is Rs. 77.00/78.00, Tomato is Rs. 15.00/20.00 per kg, Brinjal is Rs. 10.00/17.00 per kg and the retail price of Cabbage is Rs. 10.00/12.00 per kg.

Press Release No. 111/07

RANGE OFFICE OF THE SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION INAUGURATED

Amidst a large gathering, the Meghalaya Deputy Speaker, Mr. P. W. Muktieh inaugurated the Range office of the Soil & Water Conservation at Sonidan, Ri Bhoi District, on February 21, 2007. The Deputy Commissioner, Ri Bhoi District, Mr. S. F. Khongwir was the Guest of Honour.

In his inaugural address, Mr. Muktieh hoped that the Department, through the new office, would be able to reach out to the people with its Watershed programmes and various other schemes and at the same time educate them about the importance of maintaining ecological balance. Stressing on the importance of adopting new methods of farming, Mr. Muktieh called upon the farming community to work in tandem with Government Departments for the socio-economic upliftment.

Mr. S. F. Khongwir, Deputy Commissioner, in his speech, lauded the Department for setting up the office in the area and hoped that it would create more economic avenues for the people as well as help them adopt new methods of farming that would not harm the environment. He also urged upon other Departments to share the responsibility of developing rural areas.

Mr. K. C. Momin, Director, Soil & Water Conservation, in his introductory speech, said that the main objective of the Department is to maintain the fertility of the soil and water conservation.

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