Is Right To Public Services Being Throttled In Odisha?

Bhubaneswar: With claims of weeding out corruption and ensuring ease in access to public services, the State government had passed the Odisha Right To Public Services Act in the year 2012, but it seems all the promises that the legislation envisaged have fallen flat.

Timelines were fixed to provide public services including issuance of certified copy of driving license within two days, registration of vehicles along with driving license within five days, residential certificate within 15 days, caste certificate within 30 days and provision of 341 services like issue of Record of Rights within 90 days.

As many as 25 departments were assigned the job of providing the services within timelines and penalties were also fixed for officials who failed to deliver. However, neither the services were provided nor any penalty was imposed.

“Rules are not being followed. The 90-day time period is just on papers but in reality it is not being implemented,” said Deepak Kumar Dash, a resident of Baripada.

According to sources, there are 6,700 mutation cases pending at Bhubaneswar Tehsil and even officials have accepted that due to various issues work is getting hampered.

Additional Tehsildar of Bhubaneswar, Mrutyunjay Tripathy said, “In the peak hours, problem arises due to slow internet speed and there are not enough staff to handle the process in various circles.”

The more worrisome part is that complete details under Right To Public Services is not available on the website. Only till 2014, details of 13,87,000 applications are there and it is not clear how many of them have been disposed off.

Even though State government has assigned an officer to look after the delivery of public services, the office is now locked. When contacted, the officer in-charge refused to comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, opposition parties have raised questions on provision of public services while the Odisha government is going gung ho about its ‘Mo Sarkar’ initiative.

Odisha BJP general secretary Pruthviraj Harichandan said, “The government which had framed rules itself to fix accountability of officials, is trying to implement Mo Sarkar and 5Ts, which is absolutely shameful.”

“This government has announced schemes for the sake of it. It is not able to implement them,” Congress MLA Suresh Routray said

Responding to the allegations, Panchayati Raj Minister Pratap Jena said, “The services have been started online and any official found showing negligence will be taken to task.”