New Delhi: Planning Commission, which is mired in a controversy over what constitutes the poverty line, has spent a whopping Rs 35 lakh for renovation of two toilets here, an RTI reply has revealed.
The Commission, which came up with a controversial poverty line figure of Rs 28 per day for an individual, has spent Rs 30 lakh for the renovation of the toilets on the lines of Indira Gandhi International Airport.
An additional Rs 5.19 lakh was spent on installing door access control system for the toilets at Yojana Bhawan.
The access control system will mean only those people who have been provided smart cards can use these swanky toilets.
"Cost of installation of Door Access Control System is Rs 5,19,426 for two toilets. Cost of renovation of two toilets where door access control system is installed is Rs 30,00,305," the reply to activist Subhash Agrawal said.
According to the RTI reply, 60 smart cards have been issued to the officials of the Planning Commission which have to be used to get access to the toilets.
The Commission had also decided to install CCTV cameras in the corridors leading to these toilets as the officials said there were instances of pilferage in the toilets. Estimates have been sought from the CPWD.
Apart from the poverty line estimates issue, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia had come under criticism after a newspaper, based on RTI reply, reported that foreign travel expense incurred by him between May and October, 2011 was a staggering Rs 2.02 lakh per day.
Another report said that he undertook 42 official trips (between June 2004-January 2011) of 274 days at a cost of Rs 2.34 crore.
Refuting the inferences drawn in the later editorials, Ahluwalia had said that foreign travels are necessary for discharge of official duties.
The Commission officials, in a note on renovation, had
observed, "With the approval of JS (admn), CPWD(E) was requested to submit estimates for SITC for door access control system and CCTV cameras. However Executive Engineer CPWD(E) has forwarded estimates for installation of door access control system in two toilets (one each on first and second floor) RBI side, Yojana Bhawan."
"Things like disturbing/breaking of sanitary appliances are taking place frequently. It may not be out of place to mention that very high dignitaries visit Yojana Bhawan in connection with official work in addition to this non-official members of different committees visit Yojana Bhawan for attending meetings," the officials said in another note.
Disturbing of sanitary fittings or non functional sanitary fittings portray a very untidy picture of planning commission to the visiting dignitaries, it said.
Another noting proposing the upgradation of toilets last year shows that the two toilets to be renovated as a pilot project and after execution of work, decision on renovation of other toilets would be taken.
According to the note, it was desired that three other toilets of the Planning Commission may also be renovated on the same lines.