Asked for Rs.2.4 Crore for RTI info by CR, activist to go to CIC

Mumbai: Activist Manorajan Roy, who was asked to pay Rs 2.4 crore for a RTI query by the Central Railway (CR), will approach the Central Information Commission (CIC) on Monday to appeal to the appellate authority for a viable answer.

Mr Roy had asked for reservation charts of all trains originating from Mumbai between February 11 and 15. However, he was told by the information officer appointed by CR that as the information ran into 21,284-odd pages, he would have to cough up Rs 2.4 crore, including 12.36 per cent service tax as each page cost the railways Rs 1,000.

Mr Roy said he would not only approach CIC, but also ensure that Railway minister Suresh Prabhu heard about this. “I am not only going to approach the CIC, but also Mr Prabhu, asking him to look into the matter. If the Railways think they can get away with fooling or misguiding us by stating rules, they should think again.”

On his part, CR chief public relations officer Narendra Patil said that if Mr Roy was not happy with the answer, he should approach the CIC. “There are some rules and regulations with the Railways due to which this amount has been fixed. Mr Roy can appeal the reply in the CIC to verify if the information given to him is wrong or not.”

Another RTI activist, Krishnaraj Rao, criticised the Railways for their decision. “According to rules, the cost per page on A3 paper is Rs 3 and if the size is even more, the RTI act states that it should be ‘as per actuals’, by which it means that the cost of print can be Rs 100, give or take Rs 50, hence what the Railways has done in this case is obstruction of information,” said Mr Rao.

When informed that Mr Roy had been asked to approach CIC, Mr Rao said he should do that but it could be a tactic to delay providing the information.