Concerned citizens take out march to spread awareness on RTI

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Bangalore, Sep 29 (UNI) A group of professionals in Karnataka are on an unique mission on setting out on 400-km walk to bring awareness on Right to Information Act (RTI) in rural parts of the state.

Speaking to UNI Dr R Balasubramanium, a noted Doctor serving thousands of tribals in remote Sargur in Mysore district leading the march, said the legislation could be used as a powerful instrument to control corruption and bring immense benefits to the poor.

The march began from Sargur in September and was now on the final path entering the state capital. The activists had visited 38 gram panchayats in five districts.

"We do not touch upon big issues. We tell the people why the road leading to the village centre was not built properly or why they had not been provided with BPL cards despite they being very poor. We urge them to use the RTI act to their benefit," he said.

The group consisting of 40 people has met nearly two lakh people.

"We are satisfied with our endeavour and believe that it had the effect on the poor. We interact with villagers, hold street plays and tell the people about the benefits of the act," Dr Balasubramanium, who along with his wife runs a 320 bed hospital for tribals, said.

The Doctor who heads Swamy Vivekananda Youth Movement said while a 15-member unit interacts with villagers after 25 members enter the village on bicycles. They conduct street plays and distributing pamphlets and booklet costing Rs 10 in Kannada that details the Act in a simple manner.

"We have not spent a single Rupee so far. We eat what ever the villagers offer and sleep at government schools or wherever in the village. Of course we never went hungry as there are so many people who invite us to their homes for lunch or dinner. This speaks volumes about the people and their sense of positiveness. People want change. What change they want, they are not sure," he says.

The group, which also comprises doctors and IT professionals, tell the people the importance of RTI, which promotes 'participatory democracy'can turn their lives for better.

"If the act is successfully implemented, it will restore self-confidence and self-esteem in the people", he felt.

The Padayatra would conclude at Mahatma Gandhi statue here on October four.

UNI RS MSP HVB2005

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