All of you might be aware that when the controversy around Mahanadi water dispute cropped in the state following allegation of State Govt about over-exploitation of water of River Mahanadi by Chhatishgarh Govt. and its adverse impact on Odisha, Mr. A.P.Padhi, Chief Secretary conducted a press conference accusing Central Govt. and Chhattisgarh Govt. responsible for Mahanadi water dispute. The political parties strongly reacted against his statement and said that this was violation of ALL India Service Conduct Rules.
The question comes to my mind to know how the decision was taken by Govt. to authorise Sri Padhi to give such statement on Maghanadi Water dispute. It is obvious to support argument of a section of the people that concerned Minister for Water Resource is the best one to give public statement on the issues concerning his/ her Dept. So Sri Nabin Patnaik, Chief Minister who has been holding this high profile Department for last 16 years is the best man to speak or give a public statement on the issues centring around Mahanadi. As Sri Patnaik lacks minimum knowledge about Mahanadi issue, he tried his best to avoid media, preferred to remain mum and engaged Chief Secretary, rather than a senior Minister to speak on his behalf on this issue.
To understand the administrative exercise in State bureaucracy, RTI Application dated 17.8.16 was filed to the PIO, Dept. of General Administration, Govt. of Odisha seeking the information about (a) copy of the Statement of Chief Secretary on Mahanadi river dispute which was circulated to media, (b) details of decision taken at Govt. level authorizing Chief Secretary to give the statement on Mahanadi River dispute, (c) Has the Chief Minister instructed to Chief Secretary to give such statement and whether the instruction was orally or written.
My RTI Application was forwarded to Dept. of Water Resources to supply the information. On 12.9.16, in response to RTI Application, the PIO has said that the said information is not available with the Dept. and denied to provide the information.
It means the Govt. kept secret of the said information apprehending that it would expose their true character and nefarious practice. This is not a single case. The State Govt. has started an exercise not to disclose many information under RTI in order to protect their corrupt practice and keep the people of Odisha in dark about their illegalities and cheating in name of transparent Govt. which is sheer deception.
Pradip Pradhan, M-9937843482