SHILLONG, Sep 08: ‘No comment’ was the reply by the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Transport department to some of the important queries raised in an RTI filed by the Meghalaya People’s United Front (MPUF) prompting the Front to seek the intervention of the appellate authority on the issue.
“Can the 7th Mile weighbridge be located at the middle of the state? If so, provide details. Can 7th Mile weighbridge act as entry and exit point? Is there a need to install a weighbridge in every district? If not why is the 7th Mile weighbridge needed to be installed in the middle of the entry and exit points?” were some of the queries of the RTI filed on July 7, this year.
In his petition to the Commissioner of Transport PW Ingty, who is also the appellate authority, the president of the MPUF-Laskein Circle Hamwar Bhoi said that the response given by the PIO is not satisfactory as he has abstained from giving an answer to the questions put forth and instead offered “no comments”.
“As per section 7 (1) r/w section 7 (3) (a) of the RTI, Act, 2005, the PIO is either to provide and grant the information sought for or to reject the application but in this instant the PIO is doing neither and such action of the PIO is deemed as refusal to provide information as per section 7 (2) of the Act hence the appeal,” he stated in the complaint.
Bhoi also appealed to the appellate authority to direct the PIO to provide satisfactory, correct and complete information to all the questions and queries put forth in the RTI application within 10 days’ time.
Bhoi said that the MPUF and the Hynniewtrep Students’ Union (HSU) along with other NGOs of the region have been demanding the state government to close down the weighbridge at 7th Mile as its location in the middle of the district is not logical.
“This is because the state government had set up a weighbridge at Umtyra village in East Jaintia Hills to act as entry and exit points for the trucks,” he said.
Bhoi also claimed that as per government rules, the weighbridge cannot be located in the middle of the state.
According to him, due to this, trucks have to be weighed in three places namely Umtyra, 7th Mile and the weighbridge at Byrnihat, Ri Bhoi District causing unnecessary harassment to them besides leading to traffic jams along the National Highway.
He informed that a delegation of the MPUF, HSU and NGOs had earlier also met the Transport Minister HDR Lyngdoh on the matter but there has been no action on the part of the government to close down the weighbridge at 7th Mile till date.
Bhoi also argued that if the government wants to keep the weighbridge at 7th Mile, what prompted it to install the Umtyra weighbridge, which is located near the inter-state border with Assam, in the first place.
On the other hand, the MPUF-LC president also alleged that the weighbridge at 7th Mile is also located on the wrong side of the National Highway.