Use of RTI by a Class V dropout
A class V dropout of Jasdan taluka of Rajkot district, Mr. Rayabhai Zapadiya, has demonstrated the power of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Fortyfour year old Zapadiya, is currently working as an agricultural labourer in Veraval village of Jasdan taluka.
The state government had sanctioned laying of a pipeline in his village to solve the drinking water crisis in 2007-08. He found that the pipeline was not laid properly as per government norms and took the matter to the village panchayat. On not getting any appropriate reply, he turned to use the RTI Act for the first time in June 2008.
On his appeal, the Gujarat Information Commission ordered measurement of the pipeline in the presence of the complainant and the concerned government officials which revealed several discrepancies. It was found that the length, width and depth of the pipeline were 1,450 metres, 0.60 m and 0.23 to 0.55 m respectively. These figures differed from those supplied to him in the RTI reply wherein it was mentioned that the length, width and depth of the pipeline was 2,380 metres, 0.60 m and 0.90 m. respectively.
The agency which was involved in the pipeline project has returned the money to the state government. Further, a departmental inquiry has been initiated against the additional assistant engineer of road and building department who allegedly connived in the work.