After six and a half years of sitting pretty on an ex-customer's refundable deposit, BSNL not only paid up when the customer chose the RTI route, but also doled out interest.
The customer also received reimbursement for the money he spent on filing the RTI query and other correspondence, he had to resort to for claiming the refund.
Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gairola retired as a Deputy General Manager (DGM) from Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco), Chhattisgarh in 2005 and shifted to his hometown, Dehradun, Uttarakhand. On leaving Balco, he surrendered his BSNL landline, completing the due paperwork.
While taking the connection, he, like any other customer, had paid Rs 2,000 towards refundable deposit. The rules (then) stated that the customers would get this amount back, when they surrender their connection.
Mr Gairola waited for the refund. Six years passed and there was still no news about it. He then drafted an application under the RTI Act and sent it to BSNL's Bilaspur office (it being the nodal office concerned).
Mr Gairola asked why he had not received the refund, to which the BSNL Bilaspur gave frivolous response. Not satisfied, he engaged into further correspondence with the department, furnishing copies of receipts etc. This correspondence continued for six months, which ended with the government-run company stating it would not grant the refund.
Dissatisfied, Mr Gairola approached the first Appellate Authority, whose address was mentioned in BSNL Bilaspur's RTI response. The first Appellate Authority promptly sent him a cheque of the amount BSNL owed him. On top of that, he received the interest too this amount accrued over six years. What made this happy ending happier was BSNL's gesture of reimbursing the cost he incurred for filing the RTI and toward corresponding with the department since filing his first RTI.
Regardless of initial frustrations with the RTI, the former government employee stuck to the due procedure, with his perseverance finally paying off and inspiring him to use the act more often.