Chamoli: Right to Information Act was enacted to bring transparency in the functioning of the government, but it seems some of the departments have found a way out not to share the correct information. In a shocking case in Uttarakhand, it has come to the fore that the Uttarakhand Irrigation Department was providing wrong information to the villagers of Gopeshwar in Chamoli district in its response to an RTI application seeking details of an irrigation canal.

The department informed that a water canal was serving the purposes of irrigating acres of land for over the last 20 years, when actually water never flowed in the canal.

In 1992, a two and a half km canal, constructed at a cost of about 11.64 lakh, was built to serve the water intake of a few dozen of villages holding acres of non-irrigated land, but water never ran through it.

In September 2010, Jot Singh Bisht of Tula village filed an RTI seeking details of the irrigation project. The villagers were however appalled by the response which claimed that the canal has been flowing since 1992 and the farmers are taking due advantage from it. The report also claimed that the department has incurred an expense of more than Rs 11.5 lakh in repairing the canal over a period of time.

Shocked by the response, the applicant filed an appeal with the office of the Superintending Engineer in Srinagar. If the outrageous response of the district office was not enough, the Superintending Engineer’s office in its response claimed that in fact the canal was built way back in 1982-83 and not in 1992 and water has been is flowing through it ever since.

JPN/Bureau