RTI: CIC Summons Police Officials

Striking a blow for the common man


CIC: Habibullah

‘Vague’ replies land top cops at CIC office

Officers Say Queries Frivolous

Dwaipayan Ghosh &
Abhinav Garg | TNN 

New Delhi: In an unusual development, more than a dozen senior Delhi Police officials — joint commissioners, additional commissioners and deputy commissioners — landed up at the Central Information Commission office on Thursday after 22 senior police officers were summoned by chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah in reference to an appeal. The hearing was for a RTI filed by Ajit Kar, a resident of Satyaniketan. The RTI sought answers to 43 questions.

According to Kar, he had initially filed an RTI on various issues concerning ‘‘Delhi Police and the citizens’’ and wanted the seven joint commissioners of Delhi Police to answer them. ‘‘However, the answers I received were mostly vague. Some of the questions were partially or generally answered, while some others were misleading. Hence I appealed to the CIC to provide me relief in the manner that the respondents may be ordered to supply specific and accurate information,’’ Kar said.
While most of the officers turned up in person, a few sent their representatives.
However, a look at the RTI application, a copy of which is with Times City, raises questions about the nature of information demanded. While one question asked the police to give a complete list of heinous crimes and the sections of IPC that were pressed for them, another asked whether all telephone numbers provided in the citizen’s charter were still in working condition.

Habibullah defended the decision to summon the top cops, adding the officers were free to depute a common representative instead of appearing in person. ‘‘Since each one of them had been made a respondent in the RTI plea, summons were sent to each of them.

It is the registry which sends these summons and it was open to the officers to send the PIO or intimate their non-availability. It is for them to decide whom to send or depute,’’ Habibullah said, admitting that even he was surprised to see the entire Delhi Police brass turn up in full force. ‘

The applicant has a very long appeal which we will decide shortly. We told him how the entire force was present today because of his appeal. We have criticised him for that,’’ the CIC said.

A source said: ‘‘With almost all top cops attending the hearing, many important meetings had to be rescheduled. While we respect every CIC decision, we urge the RTI activists to ask more specific questions.’’

Sources said there were people who had been arrested for harassing people with RTI suites. ‘‘While one applicant has filed 270 RTIs in south and south-west districts, another person puts up atleast 90 questions,’’ claimed the source.

Unsung Angels: Chennai and Bangalore

Healthcare for the underprivileged

Dr Georgi Abraham provides free treatment for the poor

Lakshmi Kumaraswami | TNN


new-picture-93 Ask Dr Georgi Abraham, leading nephrologist in the city, about the work he does for the underprivileged and what one sees is a picture of humility. “Everyone does something good for the society. It’s our duty,” he says. For over a decade, he has been treating economically disadvantaged patients for free.
Dr Abraham began the service in 1993, when he came back to India after completing specialising in nephrology in Canada. “I had been to Kuwait, Canada and the UK, where medical care was free and taken care of by the state. Then I thought of the number of patients who would come to seek treatment for kidney disease when I was doing my medicine in Vellore in 1975,” he says. That’s when he decided that he would give poor patients free treatment whether it was for a consultation, dialysis or transplant at Madras Medical Mission and, till recently, at Sri Ramachandra Medical College, from where he has now retired. “I request the hospital to give a subsidy and then ask well-wishers to pitch in,” says Abraham, who gives a part of his income every month for the cause.
According to him, kidney failure is a rich man’s disease and costs at least Rs 10,000 a month to keep it under control. He adds that the CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) Registry of India, which has data on 35,990 patients, shows that 38 % of the patients have a monthly income of less than Rs 5000. “Most of the time, the patient is either retired or extremely poor. A few days ago, a patient from Pondicherry came to consult me; he was virtually penniless,” he states.
Abraham doesn’t know how many patients he has treated free of cost so far. “Some days there will be six patients, some days none. I have stopped counting,” he says. To help with his cause, he was instrumental in setting up two NGOs — the TANKER Foundation in 1993 and Kerala Kidney Foundation in 2006 — both of which provides dialysis for free or at subsidised rates for the underprivileged and also gives them financial support for treatment.

He adds that to help with the cause, the number of nephrologists in the country needs to increase. “There is a major brain drain when it comes to nephrology. Every year 200,000 people go in for terminal kidney failure and we have only 850 nephrologists to tackle this,” says Abraham who is on the board of the International Society of Nephrology.
However, the doctor feels that moral support for the patients is as important as medical support. “Most people think there is no life after kidney failure. When patients tell me this, I tell them the story of Dr Robin Eady, who at 68 is the longest surviving patient with kidney failure in the world. He never gave up and neither should they,” he says.

Hoping for a better future

Hope Home helps underprivileged kids from North-East

Darinia Khongwir | TNN

new-picture-92 Satkholen Ngamsai is just 11 years old. But he’s already seen so much in life. Now, thanks to Hope Home, he’s regained his childhood. Brought here by his uncle from a village in Manipur in 2005, Satkholen has not been home since. He has neither seen nor spoken to his father or siblings. But the love and care he receives is enough to inspire him to become a pastor like his caretaker he lovingly calls uncle.

The uncle is Pastor Obed Haokip, who started Hope Home in 2001 along with his wife Chong with seven children under their roof. Now, there are 32 kids, including three girls. “When trouble arose in Manipur, many parents sent their children to study here. At first, I tried placing the children in other homes, but they were not looked after properly. That’s when I decided to open my own home,” says Pastor Obed. He adds that this home is exclusively for NE children.

Hope Home was initially set up in the pastor’s house. The family along with the children slept in all of the three rooms in it. Now they’ve moved to a bigger house in Kothanur. “Though we still have space constraints, the children are not complaining,” says Pastor Obed.

The children are in Bangalore only to study. “Parents send me their children, but can’t support them. I depend a lot on philanthropists,” says Obed. The kids attend Parikrama and New Baldwin’s School. “Some study free of cost and others on concessions. Two older boys are in PUC in the Indian Academy College and Kristu Jayanti College.”

Currently, Hope Home can only help educate kids up to Class 12. “I want to provide education till they can support themselves.After Class 12,they can pick up some skills that can help them find work.”
That shouldn’t be a problem for these talented children. Five of them who were in Class 1 when they arrived in 2005, finished Class 10 in seven years.

The boys excel in sports too. Henginlen Chongloi and Lamthang Haokip were selected for Karnataka state football team. Jamsei Touthang, 16, won the Karnataka Governor’s Award in the 2007 Republic Day for sports and academic excellence. Neineilam, 16, is exceptional.

She led her school in the Independence Day March Pass and won third place in 2005 and accepted the award from the then chief minister Dharam Singh. The achievements prove that there is, indeed, hope.

(Tell us about similar initiatives at toiblr.reporter@timesgroup.com with ‘Sunshine Schemes’ in the subject line)

Bangalore: Unmanned railway crossing



Who’ll manage tracks under flyover?


Bangalore: If BBMP and the railways sort out differences on who should manage the railway track under the Lingarajapuram flyover, there could be a quick solution to unauthorized crossing of railway tracks.
Railways officials told TOI that railways and BBMP have been communicating on the issue for at least two to three years. The most recent communication was around October-November 2008 — essentially on who should manage the track under the flyover.
The railways contend that the
track is not eligible to be described as an unmanned crossing as all unmanned crossings are authorized places of crossing. However, the Lingarajapuram track is declared as unauthorized crossing because there is a road-over-bridge or flyover for vehicular movement above the track as per a legal agreement.
The railways also said considering the high traffic on the Lingarajapuram main road, a manned gate was not feasible and after the flyover was built, the entire area was declared unauthorized.
A railways official says: “We put up barriers twice and both times they were removed by people. We are wondering if the BBMP has to now intervene and bring about some resolution as it involves movement of citizens, goods and vehicles.”
The cost of putting up a shelter and equipment for manned guarding is Rs 50-60 lakh and the railways has to hire three guards for three shifts and pay them minimum wages. “We have already spent Rs 10 crore on the flyover and on an underbridge. Should we again incur cost on manning the tracks?” railways officials asked.
Though the railways said the BBMP had agreed to build a road under-bridge, the latter said there was no such proposal but that it was willing to conduct a joint inspection to resolve the issue.
However, the railways said they were willing to put up the barrier/gate if the BBMP is ready to bear the cost.