RAIPUR: An RTI applicant got the shock of his life after the Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) asked him to pay Rs 17.20 lakh for the information he sought regarding the process that was followed in the execution of the Saur Sujala Yojana.
Uchit Sharma, the applicant, is now contacting his acquaintances to get financial support.
Saur Sujala Yojana, the welfare scheme launched by PM Narendra Modi in Chhattisgarh in 2016, is aimed at providing solar-powered irrigation pumps to farmers at a subsidised price.
“It’s very disappointing when one needs to cough up huge amount to public offices to access information and ascertain the transparency process been followed in the functioning of the government institution. I just asked CREDA for the processes followed under Saur Sujala Yojana, about the suppliers and how the scheme benefited the farmers,” said Sharma.
The agency responded stating that the relevant details he has sought are available on the payment of Rs 17.20 lakh to procure the requisite documents from the concerned office.
According to the CREDA public information officer (PIO) Abhishek Shukla, the obtainable information is extensive and also the documents are to be gathered from various offices. “So, only after he deposits the given amount, the process of procuring the relevant information will start,” the PIO averred.
“We worked out the details as per the questions raised by the applicant. The required number of pages turned out to be huge. For each pump given to a beneficiary, the payment and related details are available in around 22 pages. Around 40000 such pumps have been distributed so far during the duration sought in the application. We are not discouraging anyone,” said CREDA chief engineer Rajesh Trivedi.
Under the scheme of Saur Sujala, the solar-powered irrigation pumps of 3HP and 5HP capacity worth Rs 3.5 lakh and Rs 4.5 lakh are respectively distributed at subsidised price mostly to the marginal farmers and those belonging to scheduled tribes and scheduled caste.