Guwahati, Sunday, November 29, 2009
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RTI Award for KMSS chief Akhil Gogoi
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, Nov 28 – Akhil Gogoi, general secretary of the voluntary organization Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), has been named winner of the first Right to Information (RTI) Award instituted by the Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF) to encourage the proper use of the RTI Act all over the country. Gogoi has been named for the award for his role in exposing the Rs 1.25 crore scam in the Sampoorna Gram Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) and Rs 60 lakh scam in the Indira Awas Joyana in Gamariguri Development Block of Golaghat district using the RTI Act.

Besides, Gogoi also unearthed a chain of corruption from FCI godown to the fair price shop using the Act. His probe revealed that only 5 to 15 per cent of the wheat flour distributed through the Public Distribution System (PDS) could reach the beneficiaries. This led to arrest of several officials.

The State Government set up three committees for enquiring into the matter and the PDS system was reformed. Gogoi used RTI Act and community mobilization in all these efforts to expose corruption in the administration and in the process he successfully took the RTI Act to the masses, said the PCRF in its official statement.

The announcement to this effect was made by noted cine actor and filmmaker Amir Khan at a press conference in New Delhi last night, Gogoi said in a press note. The Award consists of a trophy, a cash amount of Rs 2 lakh and a citation. It needs mention here that Gogoi’s name entered the list of nominees as a citizen nominee. His name was nominated separately by Arup Jyoti Saikia and Gautam Dutta.

There were 1,130 names of social workers and movements in the PCRF list of nominees for the Award. The Foundation short-listed 19 of these nominees taking in to consideration their roles in applying the RTI effectively in various fields.

These finalists included, among others, the names of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Association for Democratic Reforms, Subhash Chandra Agarwal, who could successfully apply the RTI Act to force the Supreme Court judges to declare their assets, Ajay Dubey, who caused the cancellation of the unauthorized licences of the big mines of Madhya Pradesh and Debashish Bhattacharjee, who exposed the huge amounts of food stuff damaged in the FCI godowns, besides Gogoi.

The remaining 18 finalists would now get the runner-up awards each containing a cash amount of Rs 1 lakh and a citation.