Want to file RTI? Head to this Kanpur tea stall

RTI ativist Krishna Murari Yadav   | Photo Credit: T_VIJAYA_KUMAR

An RTI activist from Uttar Pradesh, who runs his office from a tea stall in Kanpur, has emerged as an unlikely saviour for people tired of making rounds to government offices.

Krishna Murari Yadav may not flex his muscles like Munna Bhai, but earned the title of K.M. Bhai from the residents of villages around Kanpur for addressing their grievances. Mr. Yadav, a contract employee with a public sector organisation, has made the RTI a powerful weapon to provide solutions to several issues faced by the people.

Mr. Yadav was here to receive the Spoorthy Award by Bommidala Srikrishnamurthy Foundation in social service category.

The 29-year-old had his first success as a contract employee of Indian Oil Corporation. His job at the office included processing the applications for gas connections. Mr. Yadav was a bit amused as many people complained that their applications were being rejected.

“I then filed an RTI query with the Public Information Officer on the number of applications cleared and even after a month, I did not receive a reply. I then filed an appeal and this time, the General Manager responded. He called me to his office and asked me to meet the local contractor, who then obliged my request of clearing the applications,” Mr. Yadav told The Hindu on Monday.

He then quit his job in 2013 and plunged into a movement for championing the RTI cause. Mr. Yadav walked across the villages distributing pamphlets on RTI Act. “Even after many years, 95% of people do not know anything about RTI and women do not have any awareness about RTI,” said Mr. Yadav.

A tea stall in Kanpur soon became the place where villagers used to meet Mr. Yadav. The tea stall owner, 70-year-old Ramesh Chandra Gupta, too became a friend and in months, the RTI Tea Stall, became his makeshift office where Yadav would receive hundreds of applications from people seeking justice in Public Distribution System, gas connections and house sites.

Local newspapers ran stories on him and the BBC Hindi carried his interview, and Mr. Yadav became popular across the country.

“I am a simple man trying to solve everyday problems faced by people using RTI. I do not have any resources except a few friends. I make use of Section 6 (1) of RTI Act which states that any person who desires to obtain any information shall make a request in writing,” Mr, Yadav said.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 2:39:32 AM |

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