Give dept-wise details of whistleblowers complaints: CIC to CVC

The department-wise details of whistleblowers` complaints of corruption in government departments can be made public, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held.

New Delhi: The department-wise details of whistleblowers` complaints of corruption in government departments can be made public, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held.

Exercising his Right to Information, Venkatesh Nayak had sought from Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) details of complaints against government servants received under the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers (PIDPI) Resolution, also known as whistleblowers resolution.

The CVC in its reply had maintained that PIDPI data is maintained as per the names and designation of officials concerned or organisation-wise to which the officials belong.

"The information sought by the appellant may be available in the individual files of the Commission and culling and compiling from all the files pertaining to PIDPI complaints would involve deployment of additional manpower and would disproportionately divert the limited resources," the CVC had said while disposing of the application and appeal.

Aggrieved over the rejection, Nayak had moved CIC. "The Commission directs the Central Public Information Officer to provide the information to the appellant," CIC said in its order.

According to an official data, CVC had received 698, 804 and 901 complaints under the PIDPI Resolution during 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively.

"CVC disposes of most of the PIDPI cases saying `requiring no action` and gives no explanation. The public in general and most importantly, the whistleblowers themselves, have the right to know the reasons for this kind of disposal," said Nayak, who works with NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, and demanded more transparency in disposal of these cases.

The Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2011, which provides a mechanism for protecting the identity of whistleblowers -- a term given to people who expose corruption -- got the assent of President Pranab Mukherjee in May this year.

The Act also provides for a system to encourage people to disclose information about corruption or willful misuse of power by public servants, including ministers.

As per the law, a person can make a public interest disclosure on corruption before a competent authority, which is at present the CVC.

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Three critical rail lines to evacuate coal may take time
New Delhi: Stating that the completion of three critical rail lines may take considerable time, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal has asked state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) for an alternate action plan to meet the demand of coal projected on year-on-year basis.

"Minister of Power and Coal expressed that the three critical railway lines required to be constructed in different coalfields have been taken up with Minister of Railways who assured to extend support, but it is likely to take considerable time," said an official source.

The official further added that "he (the minister) directed (CIL) to submit an alternate action plan for meeting the demand for coal projected on year-on-year basis".

CIL and the CMDs of its subsidiaries recently shared with the minister their concern about some of the virgin coalfields being unable to operate in the absence of adequate evacuation system either through road or rail.

The government had said last month that it will expedite the construction of three critical rail lines to facilitate faster transportation of coal to power plants, thereby helping in bringing nearly 100 million tonnes of incremental traffic to Railways.

Railways will speed up construction of critical coal connectivity lines in Tori-Shivpur-Kathautia Area (in North Karanpura, Jharkhand), Jharsuguda-Barpalli-Sardega (in IB Valley, Odisha) and Bhupdeopur-Raigarh-Mand Area (in Chhattisgarh)," Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda had said while presenting Railway Budget 2014-15.

This will bring nearly 100 million tonnes (MT) of incremental traffic to Railways and will also facilitate faster transportation of coal to power houses," he had said.
The three rail corridor projects, entailing about Rs 7,500 crore expenditure, are under different phases of development.

As per original plans, rail project for North Karanpura coalfield, work on which had started in 1999, was scheduled for completion in 2005.

Likewise, the IB Valley project in Odisha, which too started long back, should have been completed in 2009.

CIL has already provided over Rs 300 crore to Railways for the projects.

CIL accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal output. It missed output target of 482 MT for 2013-14, producing 462 MT.

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