LAWDA secretary, EO denied info on illegal construction; penalty notices issued

Srinagar, November 23:  After both Secretary and Enforcement Officer (EO)  of Lakes and Water Ways Development Authority (LAWDA) failed to give details asked through an RTI lodged by an activist about illegal constructions, the State Information Commission (SIC) has issued penalty show cause notices.

As per reported in a local daily, the an RTI application was filed by information seeker namely Manzoor Ahmad Bhat resident of Barji Bala at Harwan, Srinagar before PIO / Secretary LAWDA on 19.01.2015 seeking detailed information about illegal constructions. The applicant received no reply or decision in the prescribed period of time. Thereafter, he lodged first appeal on 18.02.2015, but no action/reply or decisions was provided. Subsequently, he filed 2nd appeal before SIC and requested that Secretary/EO be subjected to penalties/fines for wasting his precious time by not providing information within the specified time.

Through RTI, the activist wanted to sought information on 11 points regarding representation given by the inhabitants of Upper Barji Balla Harwan Srinagar vis-a-vis illegal constructions and status of correspondences made by various offices with LAWDA including list of building permissions from Ist December 2007 to January 2015, with copy of notification, SRO/rule/ reference for grant of such permissions.

However a written reply was filed by Secretary LAWDA, Nissar Ahmad Malik during proceedings on 2.11.2015 at SIC office Srinagar. The secretary said that the RTI application received by him was endorsed to EO and In-charge, Building Permission, J&K LAWDA vide letter dated 22.01.2015 for providing information as desired by the applicant. He submitted that In-charge, Building Permission provided the information against item 11 of the application. EO, however, did not provide the information even after serving reminders to him latest being 01.05.2015. He submitted that a copy of the SIC notice was also endorsed to EO LAWDA on 31.10.2015, with the directions to expedite the pending information. PIO/Secretary LAWDA submitted that he has recently joined and requested to grant 10 days time to respond to points pertaining to RTI application.

The SIC, then ordered for issuance of notice to EO LAWDA to file reply/counter to the appeal statement in light of the reply furnished by Secretary LAWDA dated 02.11.2015.

Also, the , PIO/Secretary LAWDA was directed by SIC to provide information in respect of point No 11 along with copy of counter statement dated 02.11.2015 to the appellant. In compliance to the SIC directions conveyed on 3.11.2015, PIO/Secretary LAWDA Nissar Ahmad Malik submitted point wise response to the queries of the appellant along with enclosures.

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