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Monday, March 9, 2009

RTI Picks Holes In Postal System, Directs Recovery Of Compensation From Errant Officials

Man gets refund for slow speedposts

RTI Picks Holes In Postal System, Directs Recovery Of Compensation From Errant Officials

Viju B I TNN: Publication: Times of India Mumbai; Date: Mar 6, 2009;Section: Times City; Page: 4

Mumbai: This is one problem many people face after sending their couriers through speedpost. The speedpost reaches its destination like letters by ordinary post, taking more than three-four days to reach.

Now, the RTI Act has come to the rescue of people who have been facing such problems. The senior superintendent of post offices, Mumbai, has acted upon an RTI query and asked the department of post to refund the postal charges in as many as eight cases to a single applicant after most of the couriers he posted via speedpost reached their destinations after the prescribed period of 24 hours.

The senior superintendent also directed the department to recover this refund amount as compensation from the errant officials who had caused the delay in service.

The issue was taken up by RTI activist Milind Mulay after several government agencies informed him that his letters were not reaching them on time. “I initially thought that the babus were trying to find another excuse for denying information,’’ Mulay said.

He then filed an RTI query, asking for the status of articles (with copies of proof) sent through speedpost. “I asked for the date of receipt of the speedpost articles I had sent in a span of 15 days. I also asked for refund in case the articles did not reach the destination on time under the money back guarantee scheme,’’ Mulay said.

He got a reply that out of the 12 couriers he had sent, eight were delayed. “A courier that was sent from Dadar to Colaba reached its destination after five days,’’ Mulay said.

He filed the query after he did some leg work like browsing the website of the Indian Postal Service about the rules and regulations in case of delay. “I found that the website also had an option by which one can track the path of the courier. But the website had not updated the path of my courier,’’ he said.

Mulay said he was prompted to file an RTI query as many in the country faced this problem. “More than the financial part, I wanted to show that the RTI Act can be put to everyday use and cut the red tape,’’ he said.

A senior official from the postal department admitted that the delay is caused at the despatch section. “We are happy to know that more and more people are using the RTI Act to keep officials on their toes,’’ he said.

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