‘Make Work Estimates Public, Why Shall People File RTI’

Budgam- In an interesting development the Chairman District Development Council (DDC) Budgam Nazir Ahmad Khan has directed the Assistant Commissioner Development (ACD) and Assistant Commissioner Panchayats (ACP)  to make all the work estimates public on official district website and social media so that people can know how much funds are available for developmental works in rural areas and what kind of material has to be used for the same. In a circular issued on Thursday , the Chairman DDC Budgam said that  section 4 (1) (b) of RTI Act 2005 lays emphasis on voluntary disclosure of information on websites and other platforms.

“It has been brought to my notice that the District website Budgam isn’t having updated information on PMAY beneficiaries from all the blocks . In addition to it people complain that  the estimates approved for works  aren’t available in the public domain and when a JE in Nagam block was asked to provide a copy of an estimate for a village road project he denied to provide  that categorically. This is completely against the policy of Govt of India and LG administration in Jammu & Kashmir “ reads the circular

Chairman DDC Budgam said that people are forced to use RTI Act 2005 to seek  information about estimates and works done in villages by the Rural Development Department and even after filing the same they are not provided information. This practice has to be stopped as Govt officials are public servants and have to be accountable to the citizens and that is mandated under several laws and constitution which includes RTI Act 2005 as well.

We need to ensure Good Governance and that is what LG Manoj Sinha is focussing on. This is the reason that I have advised that all the estimates be kept available in the public domain on district website Budgam , social media (Facebook pages, twitter handles etc) . All the BDOs have been directed to create a dedicated Twitter Handle, Facebook Page so that people bring their grievances into their notice & work estimates are also kept available for public scrutiny .

“An official should be assigned the task of updating these social media pages. The estimates and work orders are also updated on social media sites at block level. Pertinent to mention that Honble LG JK UT had already given an instruction in this regard last year in January & General Administration Department (GAD) had already issued a circular on this subject, but that is not being followed in letter and spirit” the letter further reads

Nazir Ahmad Khan in the circular suggested that a  dedicated website be created for the office of Assistant Commissioner Development Budgam and Assistant Commissioner Panchayats Budgam separately. The residents of Budgam have hailed the decision of Chairman DDC Budgam. Rafiq Ahmad Ahangar, RTI activist from Buzgoo Nilnag said that it is a historical order. Mudaser Yatoo a social activist from Nagam praised Nazir Ahmad Khan for issuing the circular on voluntary disclosure of information “Govt officials must abide by the orders and a sign board be erected at all work sites by local BDOs with details of estimates written on it ” he said

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