'Right to Hearing' gets an ear to ground

FP

For 75-year-old Hanja Devi, the wait was long but finally worthwhile. As she jostled through a crowd to reach the complaint registration counter at a public hearing camp in Togi village Monday, her long-standing grievances were heard and resolved on the spot.

Official representatives from 15 government departments, the district collector, sub-divisional magistrate and key officials gathered for the hearing decided that Hanja Devi would be given priority in allotment under the Indira Awas Yojana, while records were corrected to ensure she gets her entitled pension of Rs 750 with immediate effect.

She had so far been getting only Rs 500, despite the entitlement, while her number in the Indira Awas Yojana's wait list was 474, almost at the fag end.

The camp at Togi village, in Bhim sub-division, was being held under the state government's Prashasan Gaon Ke Sang Abhiyan. While it is a grievance redressal exercise held periodically, it was its first outing under the umbrella of Rajasthan's unique 'Right to Hearing' Act.

The legislation, the first of its kind in the country, provides the people of the state the right to be heard on any grievance within 15 days.

Rajsamand district is the first in Rajasthan to have institutionalised the Act. The public hearing at Togi was the 136th in the district, which has 205 such gram panchayats. Residents can lodge their complaints at the gram panchayat office on all working days between 10 am and 12 pm. A receipt is issued to them promising a hearing within 15 days and a written reply to their complaint within 21 days.

The Prashasan Gaon ke Sang is held from January 10 to February 21. While hearings under it are a one-day affair and sometimes some complaints go unresolved, registering the complaints under the Right to Hearing Act, as is happening in Rajasamand, binds the administration to a time frame.

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