Action demanded against officials implementing IAY following RTI revelation
Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) is a scheme run by the Union rural development ministry to construct houses for those below poverty line (BPL). Under the scheme, a financial assistance of Rs. 75,000 is given to a beneficiary.
It has been claimed on the basis of a series of a RTI application that housing funds meant for the poor have been diverted for the rich and influential section of Dhank village in Rajdot district of Gujarat. Four villagers, Bharatbhai Ghughal, Bhanjibhai Jogel Naranbhai Varagiya and Govind Gangera are on satyagraha for the past one week in front of the Rajkot Collector’s office, demanding appropriate action against officers responsible for corruption in IAY.
In a press statement issued by the Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP), a NGO which has guided these two villagers to crusade through RTI, it has been reported that despite the exposure, the government has not taken any action against the responsible officers. The press release has appealed to citizens and activists, nationwide to contact Bhanjibhai Jogel, Bharatbhai Ghughal on 09974573036 for moral support and send emails requesting action on the corrupt to RM Patel, Additional Chief Secretary, Panchayat and Rural Housing Dept (GOG). email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; D Rajgopalan, Chief Information Commissioner – Gujarat email@example.com ; Rajendar Kumar, District Collector Rajkot firstname.lastname@example.org and/or N B Upadhyay, District Development Officer, email@example.com.
The issue erupted in 2010, when Gughal and Jogal observed that well-to-do people owning large properties were getting the houses meant for below poverty line persons and raised the issue through RTI applications at the Gram Panchayat office requesting names of the beneficiaries in Dhank village for the IAY and SPAY schemes for the last five years. When the Public Information Officer (PIO) did not reply, they filed the first appeal with the first appellate authority (District Development Office of Rajkot district). During the hearing, the PIO submitted a hand-written chit with six names of beneficiaries who received allotment out of the rules. Jogel and Ghughal demanded a certified copy of the list of beneficiaries and information whether they belonged to the BPL section of the society. After multiple RTI applications were filed, it was informed that there were 65 beneficiaries in the last five years out of which 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. of them belonged to the affluent class and had received multiple benefits. The applicants claim that despite incriminating evidence found against the seven officers including the sarpanch of the village Dhank which has a population 7,000 odd, neither the Panchayat Department nor the Vigilance Commission is taking action against them.
A case study has been done on this issue which examines how the villagers bravely used the RTI after the conventional methods of procuring failed. Is a mega housing scam not in existence in most villages all over the country?