17-year-old RTI activist
When Himadrish Suwan travelled by Ranchi Rajdhani from Delhi to Ranchi every summer, he saw that it was the only Rajdhani that still used the old ICF coaches. He found them quite “horrible”, with bad washrooms. It was the only train that did not use the Linke Holfmann Busch coaches that remained safe without flipping when they collided with other coaches, he felt.
Though he was just a 15-year-old student in April 2012, Himadrish filed an RTI asking the Indian Railways who would be responsible in an accident and what they meant to do with coaches. The reply was that they were planning to change the coaches and they did so on the Bokaro route, he said.
However, after filing a 100 applications, Suwan, who is a teenaged political science student at Shahid Bhagat Singh College, has been given the global Young Achiever’s Award by The International Association of Educators for World Peace. He said that he liked to look into RTI and the information that can be sought through it. It was as interesting as playing ‘Candy Crush’ on Facebook, he said.
Living in Saket, the traffic condition made him file an RTI with the Delhi Police, which got them to deploy two policemen and put up barricades. Last year, he filed an RTI to the Prime Minister’s office, asking how many speeches the former PM had made since 2004. They answered that it had been 1,300 times, and accompanied the reply with a full list of dates and times. They even included single-line replies to media questions in the list, recalls Suwan.
He also asked the Central Board of Secondary Education about the availability of infrastructure, especially computers, so that they could implement comprehensive evaluation. Rural areas, in particular, need computers, he added.
After graduating from Delhi University, Suwan wants to study law in order to take the legal regulations forward. He wants to be a judge.
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