[AI] Visually impaired person opens panchayat's eyes

shalini khanna shalinikh95 at yahoo.com
Wed May 26 03:47:04 EDT 2010

This is a wonderful account and very encouraging. 

Shalini Khanna
Hony. Director
NAB, India -Centre for Blind Women
Consultant, GENPACT Sexual Harrassment Committee
L-25, Hauz Khas Enclave
New Delhi
Ph. no. 011- 41656266, 9811772499

--- On Sat, 7/11/09, prateek aggarwal <prateekagarwal99 at gmail.com> wrote:

From: prateek aggarwal <prateekagarwal99 at gmail.com>
Subject: [AI] Visually impaired person opens panchayat's eyes
To: "accessindia" <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Date: Saturday, July 11, 2009, 1:17 PM

Visually impaired person opens panchayat's eyes - Ahmedabad - Cities -
The Times of India

Rangpar (Rajkot district): He cannot see but was determined to open
the eyes of administration. More than his poverty, 26-year-old Ratna
it was authorities turning blind eye to development works in his
village that pained him.

A native of Rangpar, a dusty hamlet of 750 people in Wankaner taluka,
Ratna used Right to Information (RTI). Ratna has put the village on
development track.
A neat two-km road has replaced the stony path connecting it to
highway. The thorny gando bawal shrubs that dotted the roadside are
now being cleared regularly
and Rangpar is getting the facelift.

But, getting all this done was not at all easy for Ratna, whose family
lives below poverty line. Besides all the paper work, he even had to
suffer humiliation
by officials whenever he raised questions about development.

"The documents I got using RTI showed that many works registered as
completed in the papers were actually never taken up. In 2008, I used
RTI to know how
many schemes had panchayat implemented and how much money was spent on
each work," said Ratna.

Though I did not get accurate information, it helped them realize that
their inefficiency would be exposed.

Now, everything is falling in place, thanks to RTI.

"If RTI Act, was not there, we would never have known the
irregularities in local administration'' said Ratna, a farmer studied
till class X.

"I can't see but I can sense the relief among villagers," he said

"His work is truly praiseworthy. People support him but not openly as
no one wants to confront local authorities. But, Ratna stands firm and
results are
there," says villager Bhurabhai Barot.

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