Public transport is almost nonexistent for the residents of Mapalagama. People living along the stretch from Mapalagama to Pitigala in the Nagoda Divisional Secretariat in the Galle District do not have a properly functioning public transport service. There is only one bus running in this area that has also stopped running recently putting about 500 residents of the area in great difficulty.
The residents made several appeals to the officials in the area and written everywhere possible to make sure that the bus is back on service.
A group of villagers who heard about the Right to Information (RTI) Act decided to file an application with the Udugama Bus Depot requesting details regarding the reasons for the failure to assign a bus to this route. The application was filed in December 2018. The depot has failed to respond to the request within the stipulated 14 days.
The residents went onto the next step and filed an application to the Appeals Officer. They are awaiting a reply from the appeals officer and hope that RTI will help solve this problem to which officials have turned a blind eye for a long time.
According to the residents the officials are still not willing to accept or act according to the RTI Act. They are disappointed with the fact that officials turn down requests so boldly. However, they are happy and say that they have some hope now in knowing the fact that they have a “right” to know unlike before when they feared questioning public authorities.
This update was prepared by participants of the Information and Communication Training Workshop conducted by the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) through a grant funded by the United States Agency for International Development through the Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability Project Activity.
“The contents of this post are the sole responsibility of SLPI and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.”