25th September, 2010, for me – is a memorable day. Though most of it was screwed big time (couldn’t finish story idea).
Okay…the reason I’m “hyping” (like the media hype for TRP’s, but that’s not the case here) it up so much is because I filed an RTI. (Ohh…wait! not one RTI, but 4). Not just filed an RTI, but had to go through a lot before submitting the application at Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) Office (M.S. Building).
My day began with the auto driver coming 45 minutes late (Can’t help it, “Indian” timings). He claimed he was having breakfast (For an hour? DUH!). Okay after a lot of cribbing, my friend and I took a bus to MAJESTIC (K.G Bus stand). The bus we got into, was moving at a pace of 1 metre per minute (TRAFFIC!) which was a result of previous day’s rain (which apparently, flooded the city – but sadly, not at Kumbalgudu). It was humid, people in the bus looked frustrated, some restless people just got down the bus and walked past many vehicles to catch another bus some 200 metres away. Roads with pot holes (Possible story idea – killed!), traffic congestion, pollution, high emissions (All possible story ideas – Acc to our Vice Dean – “Possibly, but look for something new”) and stink of overflowing drains, stench of garbage (*looks away* – enough of such stories!).
Finally after a lot of struggle, we reached MAJESTIC bus stand after 1 hour 45 minutes.Our first plan for the day was, to go to KIC and file “an” RTI (Right to Information Act). We got to KIC office and asked them if we could submit the RTI forms (I took a print out of the form). One guy, didn’t know English nor Hindi , then we were sent to another employee, who told us to fill the form, they had. I filled one, then ran to the office, then asked for four more forms. (*feels happy*) As it was my first chance, I thought I could utilize this opportunity fully and file 3 more. And, I did. Information I wanted was on IMR(Infant Mortality Rate) and MMR (Maternal Mortality Rate) in Bangalore, for the past five years. And I have decided not to reveal the rest, because they are my story ideas (Can’t make them public now …lolz).
I went into the office, smiling. (Assuming, I can finally submit the forms ). But, it wasn’t over. I was asked to give an I.P.O (Postal Order) of Rs.10. (But, the form said “Pay Rs.10 in the form of cash or through I.P.O). I did not know it was complusory to give an I.P.O (Lesson 1). My friend and I asked people where Post office was and rushed to the one in the premises of M.S. Building. Huh! We asked for I.P.O and they said they closed the account. (Ohh…Why did they close an account? Because, it was 1.40 p.m and the office is open till 1 p.m. only on SATURDAYS – Lesson 2) We begged them to open an account or enter it into Monday’s account. (But, that fellow seemed unyielding) To add to our misery or may be the other way round, he told us that the Head office (G.P.O) is open till 3 p.m. We rushed to head office. Actually walked. May be the fastest I’ve ever walked (Looked like I could win a race).
Ohh…Before this we took an auto and we told the driver to take us to GPO. that fellow dropped us in between because it was one way (Some Crap!) We got down, didn’t pay him money. (how can I forget? …My friend was bankrupt and I had a fresh Rs.500 note without change- Beat that!) We looked at guavas on the way, but, decided to get back to them after a while. Finally, bought 15 I.P.O’s and got to know how they look (Lesson 3) and got back to office, thinking this is DONE! But, I didn’t know there was something in store for us.
I was asked to get photocopies of the forms and the I.P.O. Figured out the nearest “XeroX’ shop, got them photocopied and rushed back expecting the officer to ask us to do something else too. Gave him the photocopies, he put a KIC stamp on it. Gave them back to us, and kept the originals with him. “Done, Thank you” was what he said. We then understood that FINALLY we filed RTI’s, inquired about the time period for the response (which is 30 days) and found out the possibilities of not receiving information within 30 days.
We got out of the office. Obviously smiling. The reason behind our smiles was that we learnt how to file an RTI which took almost 3 hours. And, then we parted ways and I went to KSCB (Karnataka Slum Clearance Board), but did not get information and was asked to go to Viajayanagar BDA. Travelled all the way to vijayananagr. Walked for 1.5 kms to find the office, finally found it. And then, from there I was aked to go to Domlur Revenue Office. by the time I got to Domlur, it was 6 p.m and Yes, luck never favours. Office closed.
Wow! Great day. Celebrate! Bullshit. Disappointed, I took a bus to Rajarajeshwari Nagar, went to Gopalan Aracade, McDonalds as usual became my saviour. (Happens always!) And, reached hostel at 9 p.m.
It was one HELL of a day! Gosh!!
But, YES, I was proud to exercise my RIGHT as a CITIZEN by filing an RTI 🙂
P.S. Demanding information is your RIGHT. Utilize the RTI, know it, use it and become a responsible citizen. Don’t be a passive citizen. And, to know more about the act, Click Here. Here’s the links to state information commissions – Link: http://www.cic.gov.in/state_chief__information_commissioners.htm.