Editorial

Doing what is right

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 2/22/2021 1:11:39 PM IST

 Even as the Kezekevi Thehou Ba (KTB) , an NGO, filed a slew of RTI applications with the Transport and Health & Family Welfare departments and responses of which are still awaited, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The RTI query with the Transport department, pertained to the fleet of vehicles allotted to VVIPs and officials from 2010 to 2021 , sanctioned amount for the period, repair and maintenance of the vehicles for the same period, number of vehicles condemned and subsequently allotted. The NGO has filed the RTI against the backdrop of serious allegations that many vehicles were prematurely condemned and subsequently allotted to favoured beneficiaries and that too without invited bids through tender process. Another RTI filed with the Health & Family Welfare department pertained to the appointments of junior doctors and medical officers. According to KTB sources, the H&FW department had appointed several fresh graduates while ignoring senior serving doctors. KTB wanted to know the justification if any, for the lacuna. On receipt of the responses, KTB is to decide on the next step. In a recent interview to this newspaper, KTB members said they decided to act instead of criticising by filing RTI applications. Earlier, four applicants had sought the court’s intervention on alleged corruption in the purchases of several items under the department of health and family welfare after answers to RTI queries given by the latter was ambiguous. The four then took up the matter through a memorandum dated May 11,2020 with the state governor. The signatories, in the memorandum, pointed out that the department had bypassed laid down procedures for purchase of various medical equipments without floating public tender and neither were designated Purchase Committee (PC) and Verification Committee(VC)/Quality Control Committee(QCC) involved in the entire process. They said even rates appeared to have been fixed/approved by a chosen few and supplied items received by some chosen officials on behalf of the official committee whose signatures were not appended. The items supplied were allegedly sub-standard and bore no labels nor information about the items with purchased rates. According to the signatories, these items were rejected by COVID-19 hospitals as these would expose frontline workers to inherent danger from COVID-19. Objection raised against RTI and PIL by some organisation that it would impede the current preparedness by the department to contain COVID-19 was untenable. Such specious argument is not only bizarre but a travesty of justice. Public in Nagaland are not ignorant about blatant acts of corruption in the government which have been highlighted in the past by ACAUT Nagaland. Several other NGOs had also brought disclosures in the media on the facts and figures obtained through RTI Act during the recent months. For whatever reasons, the opposition NPF, which had ruled the state on three consecutive terms and in alliance with the BJP other parties from 2003 till 2018, not been vocal about corruption. The RTIs and PILs serve only to remind all that there are still some people who are acting out of conviction and hopefully, the silent and cynical majority will lend their support to promote transparency and accountability in public affairs.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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