The Hush Post: A farmer trying to expose corruption got a voluminous 32,000 pages in return as reply.
Anil Kiswan, a small farmer from Darba Kalan village in Sirsa got a shock of his life when he received the information he had applied for under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. To his surprise, he was provided a reply which ran into a massive 32 thousand pages and weighed 160 kgs. Anil Kiswan paid a hefty fees of Rs. 68,834 for the information. And if that was not enough, the 11 registered parcels he got were written in English, a language he couldn’t understand.
Anil Kiswan had filed an RTI application with the D regarding the procurement of mustard and wheat. His plea was forwarded by the DC to the Haryana State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Limited (HAFED) which gave him the information, albeit in 32,017 pages.
“I am a small farmer and I own about 3-4 killas of land. I had gone to sell mustard and wheat to a local market where I found some irregularities in the procurement process. Subsequently, I filed an RTI to expose the scam. I had sought information regarding 11-12 questions wherein I asked if the mustard was being weighed as per norms, are the farmers being paid on time, etc. They charged me a fees of Rs. 68,834 and sent me these 32000 pages and that too in English despite me having specifically requested for Hindi. What will I do with them? I can’t even read a page in English”, said a distraught Anil Kaswan.
Despite the reply being in English, Kaswan says he tried to figure out some of the pages which had some Hindi imprints. “What I could figure out from the 3-4 odd pages which I could comprehend, it looks that HAFED has tried to equivocally furnish the details,” he says.
Kaswan said that he was even pressurised by some government officials to refrain from seeking the information. He alleged, “One manager from HAFED came to meet me. He tried to persuade me to settle the matter. He had told me that he was retiring on September 30 and asked me to wait till then. But I did not budge.”
Anil Kaswan now plans to approach the CM window for redressal. “I managed to pay Rs. 68,000 because I could afford it. Had it been some other guy then what? This scam is worth crores. I want that the matter be thoroughly probed”, demanded Kaswan.