GUWAHATI, Dec 3 – Both the State and the Central Governments are trying to conceal the crucial reports on the dam projects being undertaken in the NE region throwing into wind the set legal norms of the land. With such deeds they have been deliberately violating even the orders of the courts and the Central Information Commission (CIC) of the country.Several reports on such projects are kept secret by the Governments on the plea that they are either ‘under consideration’ or are ‘yet to be placed before the Cabinet.’
But the CIC and the Delhi High Court in the matter of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) report ruled that if the report was final, it should be released. It cannot be a justified reason to withhold the reports on the ground that the various bodies are ‘yet to consider’ or ‘accept’ the reports, said the CIC. This has been supported also by the Delhi High Court.
It needs mention here that the State Government had recently refused to supply a copy of the report of the Group of Ministers (GoM) that studied the issue of hydel dam projects proposed in the NE region and particularly the Lower Subansiri Hydel Project (LSHEP) on the plea that the report was ‘yet to be placed before the Cabinet’.
The Planning Commission of India is also keeping the report of the Thatte-Reddy Committee that delved into the LSHEP secret on the plea that it is under consideration.
Moreover, the authorities concerned have been keeping the report on the downstream impact assessment study of Demwe Lower secret for the past about one year without assigning any reason.
The CIC in its decision dated April 9, 2012, said, “… there is no provision in the RTI Act which exempts from disclosure a report that has not been finalized or accepted by a public authority.”
This decision of the CIC (Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2012/000374/18316; Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2012/000374) came in the wake of the appeal filed by G Krishnan against Dr Amit Love, CPIO and Deputy Director, Ministry of Environment and Forests.