Sunday, November 29, 2009

Akhil Gogoi bags RTI Award 2009

GUWAHATI, Nov 29: Ahkil Gogoi (34), bagged the RTI Award 2009 instituted by the Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF). The award will be presented by Vice-President of India Hamid Ansari.

He is one of the best-known social activists of Assam, started an RTI investigation in March 2006, followed by a social audit, that led to the exposure of a Rs 1.25 crore scam in Sampoorna Gram Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) and Rs 60 lakh scam in Indira Awas Yojana in Gamariguri Block of Golaghat district.

It brought to light the corruption in administration of other schemes as well as the arrest of several officials. The expose rallied the people of Golaghat in protest against corruption in administration of Government schemes.

Subsequently, Gogoi faced the wrath of those who had been benefiting from corrupt practises. Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), a grassroots organization of which Gogoi is secretary, was branded an illegal group. Gogoi had to go underground for three to four months. Two KMSS members were arrested and kept in custody for three months each.

Another RTI investigation by Gogoi detected a chain of corruption from FCI godown to the fair price shop. The probe, which revealed that only five to fifteen per cent of wheat flour was reaching the intended beneficiaries also led to the arrest of several officials.

Assam Government set up three committees for inquiring into the matter. PDS system was reformed. This probe also resulted in threats to Gogoi to the extent that CIC suggested to the State Government to provide security to him.

Gogoi has used RTI and community mobilization in his several successful efforts to hold Government accountable for its actions. He is also credited with taking RTI to the masses. This was stated in a press release. THE SENTINEL

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