Information sought from all 744 local tiers

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KUMAR CHAULAGAIN , KATHMANDU, Aug 18: The campaigners of the Right to Information (RTI) have simultaneously demanded information on activities and organizational frameworks in the 744 local units spread across the country.

Coinciding with the National Information Rights Day, the Freedom Forum – which has been campaigning for freedom and RTI – will be spearheading the campaign on Thursday and Friday to seek information from all 744 local units.

Freedom Forum’s Executive Chief, Taranath Dahal, Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) former President and Forum’s General Secretary, Dharmendra Jha, senior Prof Hari Binod Adhikari, advocate Ram Maya Lamichane, social worker and Forum’s Treasurer, Kedar Dahal, journalist, Krishna Sapkota, and RTI campaigner, Kumar Chaulagain, have filed a postal application demanding verified copy of the information and details as per Article 27 of the Nepal’s Constitution 2072, and Section 3 and Section 7(1) of Right to Information Act, 2064.

The information has been sought, according to Dahal, so as to facilitate the transparency and accountability of the local government.

Forum’s General Secretary Jha said the information was sought with the executive council offices of the local levels across the country with the hope of creating an environment of trust with the local government and to seek constructive participation of the civilians.

Journalist Sapkota underlined information has a significant tool in promoting good governance and added that the demand for information was made for upholding national and international exercises on RTI, good governance, development, and mindful of the importance of RTI in Nepal.

He also noted that the Act stipulates the presence of an information official in each of the local units.

Sapkota elaborated further that demands were made for information on whether an information official has been appointed; whether the council offices will disclose information on 20 different topics in every three months as required by the RTI Act, 2064; whether a public hearing will take place as for Good Governance Act, 2064 and to know if a directive, policy or by laws have been formulated for information management.

The RTI campaigners have also demanded information if there has been arrangement for citizens’ charter at the concerned offices and whether websites have been developed. It has sought property details of elected officials and staffers, allocation of budget on construction, import and service – oriented adverts and policies formulated on advertisement.

The demands include information on placement of hoarding boards for transparency of plans and laws, and policy-based structure on securing people’s participation in concerned council offices’ activities.

The application of the demand for information has also been notified to the National Information Commission (NIC).