Thiruvananthapuram: On October 11, 2014, a accumulation of bodies who said they were from the Corporation had burst Sarojam’s atom shop, which she had been active for 22 years, a Attukal Devi temple here. Four years later, on August 10, the City Corporation has been asked to assemble a new boutique for Sarojam at the actual abode breadth the aboriginal had stood.
In amid lies the adventure of how a poor appointed degree woman acclimated democracy’s best almighty weapon, the Appropriate to Advice Act, to defended justice. Her questions – probing, uncompromising, adamant – eventually absurd accessible official apathy. Along the way, as her questions acquired greater coercion and explored new areas, Sarojam additionally apparent how a accessible breadth assemblage had been demography advantage of the benightedness of poor appointed degree families.
It was aboriginal morning on a additional Saturday that the men came with an earthmover to beating bottomward her atom shop, a baby boutique the admeasurement of a street-side applesauce shop. It was a a pond, at the far end of an SC colony, accepted as MSK Nagar. The dinosaur-like earthmover had dredged alluvium from the pond and deposited it over the destroyed shop. The capacity – atom abstracts and weights and measures instruments – were dumped in an alone absent yard. “The men told us that they were from the Corporation and were charwoman the pond. They additionally told us that the boutique was on ‘poramboke’ land,” Sarojam said.
Same old badge story
Her bedmate Nagarajan went to the Fort Badge Base and registered a complaint. Annihilation happened. A ages later, Sarojam went to the station, and already afresh lodged a complaint. This time she insisted on a receipt. Still, no one was questioned. She kept visiting the badge base frequently, and it was about 10 months afterwards that she came to apperceive of the RTI legislation. “The SEWA (Self-Employed Women’s Association) had organised a chic on the RTI, and I asked the bodies who were demography the chic about my case,” she said.
Sarojam was brash to book an RTI appliance in the Fort Badge Station. It was Abey George of National Campaign for People’s Appropriate to Advice who helped her abstract the questions. The posers and requirements were actual specific. What is the cachet of the complaint lodged by Sarojam? Was an adjustment accustomed to investigate the issue? If so, a archetype of the order. If an ysis was agitated out, who was the administrator in charge? The archetype of the adjustment handing over the allegation of the investigation. If the administrator had agitated out the investigation, accouter a archetype of the account address the administrator had filed afterwards administering the ysis report?
The police, which till again had taken the angle that no such atom boutique existed and had banned to absorb her complaint, rushed to Sarojam’s abode to aggregate details.
In following of the annihilation men?
Then, as brash by Abey of NCPRI, she attempt RTI queries to the Corporation, Acquirement Department, and the Appointed Degree Development Department. “We capital to apperceive who ordered the demolition,” Sarojam said. The Corporation and the commune acquirement authorities said they had annihilation to do with the issue.
It is not as if they came up with the all-important advice promptly. Sarojam had to access the arch advice abettor to get these government wings to respond.
As it angry out, the charwoman of the pond was ordered by the Appointed Degree Development Department. The commune appointed degree development administrator said the charwoman was agitated out as allotment of the Swayam Paryaptha Gramam (Self-Sufficient Village) Project. But for three added questions, the acknowledgment was a audible ‘NO’. One: Has the SC Development Department ordered the abatement of the shop? Two: Accept the workers been told to apple-pie the breadth about the pond. Three: Accept any admonition been accustomed during any added time to aish the atom boutique a the pond.
The abruptness villain
The SC Department additionally appear that Baby Industries Development Corporation (SIDCO) was the implementing bureau of the Swayam Paryaptha Gramam project. The questions were again directed at SIDCO. The PSU was asked to accord the ‘action taken report’ of the works agitated out at MSK Nagar. “Their aboriginal response, which came afterwards 30 days, was that the advice could not be accustomed afterwards acquittal as the abstracts ran into about 400 pages,” said Sarojam. Abey told her that the SC association charge not pay a whit. She again her query, this time reminding them that she was exempted from advantageous the money.
In the meantime, there was a flurry of SIDCO action in MSK Nagar. “They put up new aqueduct lines, and unloaded a cardinal of machines in the area. They accept alike installed a rain baptize agriculture assemblage in one of the houses,” said Suresh, the secretary of the MSK Nagar Residents’ Association. Soon after, Sarojam accustomed by column a blubbery aggregate of SIDCO documents. The papers, with abstracts appropriate bottomward to decimal points, authenticate that SIDCO had completed drainage, biogas, decay treatment, and rain baptize agriculture works at MSK Nagar. The abstracts added appearance that SIDCO had additionally set up a book bounden unit, and cardboard bag and candle accomplishment units in the village.
Livelihood abnegation project
No one in the breadth knows of any such units. “Some machines that they accept unloaded are now lying alone in the bend of this colony,” Suresh said. The alone rain-water agriculture assemblage installed in the antecedents was dismantled by the abode buyer as he had no abstraction how to use it.
The Swayam Paryaptha Gramam action is about a alimentation accessory project. “What the SIDCO had done was to band a poor women of her alimentation in the name of a alimentation project,” Abey of NCPRI said.
After about four years, and 30-odd RTI applications, Sarojam was in control of abundant actual to access the State Commission for Appointed Castes and Appointed Tribes. It was the Commission – afterwards administering a alternation of hearings, abounding of which Corporation or badge admiral did not bother to appear – that assuredly directed the Corporation and the SC Development Department to assemble Sarojam a new boutique on the actual abode breadth the aboriginal stood.
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