Ram Kalp Mishra, a resident of a village in Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh, was tired of making rounds of government departments to get his ration card made. But his ration card was not being made. Whenever he applied for the ration card, the government servants used to ask him to pay a bribe of 1000 rupees. It was very difficult for a modest farmer to raise 1000 rupees and due to lack of ration card, he was not able to take ration. Completely disheartened, Ram Kalp finally reached out to KM Bhai of ‘RTI Tea Stall’.
KM Bhai heard his problem, the very next day he filed an RTI in his name and after two months, Ram Kalp Mishra got his ration card in his hand. Only one RTI gave Ram Kalp not only the ration card but also a weapon. Now he is taking the help of RTI for all his work stuck in the government department. Right to Information means the right to information is no less than a weapon for the general public. The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 is an Act of the Government of India, which has been implemented to provide the right to information to the citizens.
“But the question is how many people use this right properly. Because, if used properly, this act alone can bring about a revolution,” says Krishna Murari Yadav, fondly known as KM Bhai. KM has been helping people in RTI file by making people aware about RTI in villages around Kanpur city since 2013. He has helped more than 5000 people till now and Ram Kalpa Mishra was one of them.
For this purpose, he is running ‘RTI Tea Stall’ outside a village near Kanpur. Anyone can drink tea by visiting this stall and get information about RTI. The Better India While talking to him, he told about his journey.
Chaiwala gave the idea of RTI tea stall
32-year-old KM explains, “I am from Kanpur. Everyone in my house is literate. After completing college, I also worked for a few days. But I left the job because of the interest to work in the social sector. Worked with social organizations for some days. But around 2010 I got to know about ‘RTI’. Right from school time, I have been deeply interested in things related to law and constitution. So when one day I heard the mention of RTI, I got all the information about it by taking the help of newspapers, books and internet.
Actually, some people in the city were campaigning to make people aware about RTI. These people used to go outside the government departments and distribute pamphlets on it among the common people. A pamphlet was captured by KM and after gathering all the information, he too joined the campaign. He told, “All this went on for a few days and I myself filed RTI for many things, so that I can know what is the process? I filed an RTI regarding small and big problems and gradually their effect started showing.
“After some time, I realized that awareness about RTI is needed not only in cities but also in villages. We should spread information about this to every village. Now before this I had never worked in the village, so the question arose that how to do it? I said that let’s take out a walking tour, in the villages around Kanpur and will tell people about it during the journey. But the thinking with which we reached the village and the response we got from the villagers was very different,” KM added.
The villagers did not pay heed to his words. People told them their problems, but they did not know how to solve these problems? When he said that RTI could help him, people did not want to get into trouble. One day, exhausted, KM and his companions sat on a small tea stall outside Chaubepur village. He had some pamphlets on RTI in his hands. When he asked for tea, some people present there started asking him about RTI. Soon, there was a good discussion on RTI while drinking tea.
“The uncle, who runs that tea stall, was watching us for days. After listening to me, he said that you should set up your own stall at our tea shop. Keep informing people right here. We also got his point. Like tea, RTI is for all and working on this idea, we started our first booth at the same tea tapri,” he said.
Now people come from outside Kanpur to ask for help
He further told that gradually people started asking him about RTI after seeing his poster at the tea shop. Then many people started coming for help. KM Bhai would give information about RTI to everyone and tell how they can solve their problems like ration card is not being made, road is broken, street light is not there, any result is stalled, if there is any dispute of land, even then RTI You can get help through He himself has filed RTI for many people. Till now he has filed RTI for more than 5000 people.
Out of these, about 1000 people have also got help. Sarvesh, a resident of Kanpur, says that he had done a course from IGNOU, whose results were withheld and no reason was being given. So he filed RTI on the advice of KM Bhai and his result came within a month. Similarly many more people have got help due to RTI. While helping people, KM has so far trained more than 1000 people on how they can solve their problems through RTI.
Apart from Chaubeypur, he also started RTI tea stalls in villages like Tatiaganj, Nanamau, Bhaharan, and Ghatampur. Munna Lal Shukla, who works with him, says that they do not run these tea shops or stalls themselves, but they go to the tea stalls already running in different areas and talk to them and ask them to set up their RTI booth. ask permission for. However, due to the Corona pandemic, most of his work is going online for the past one year.
They are making people aware about RTI over the phone and through online webinars. “We have made many youth and women of the village aware about RTI. These people are also helping people in their respective areas. If anyone faces more problems, we talk on the phone and file RTI for them so that they get help in time,” he said. This journey of KM Bhai has not been easy at all. Earlier it was difficult to make people aware. But when people started coming together, they had to face many problems from the side of the administration as well.
He said, “Many times in talks, the officials asked to leave this job. So many times there have been attacks on his stall. But we are not doing any work for which we should be afraid. So there is no question of going back. It is a matter of happiness that this campaign is reaching out from Kanpur to other cities and states as well. We also get calls from people from outside the state that they want to file RTI, so how to do it? Honors have also been received for this work from many places, including the Spurti Award. But awareness is more than respect.
It is noteworthy that under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, any citizen of India can make a request for obtaining information from any government authority, provision has been made to provide this information within 30 days. If the information sought relates to life and personal liberty, there is a provision to provide such information within 48 hours.
The praise of KM Bhai, who is making people aware about this law, is less. Soon, he is working on a plan to conduct an RTI awareness march in Bundelkhand as well. If you want to connect with them, you can contact them on 9838775508.
Editing – G N Jha
Image Credits: KM Bhai
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