New Delhi(PTI): Facing flak over expenditure of Rs 35 lakh on toilets, the Planning Commission today termed it as routine maintenance and upgradation work and said it was “unfortunate” to call it a wasteful expenditure.
“While the amount of Rs 30 lakh being mentioned is correct, an impression is being created that this has been spent on two toilets. This is totally false because these toilet blocks have multiple seats in addition to separate facility for the differently abled. Each of these blocks can be simultaneously used by approximately ten people”, a statement from the Commission said.
The Commission came under criticism after it was reported on the basis of an RTI reply that it has spent a whopping Rs 35 lakh for renovation of two toilets.
“It is unfortunate that what is routine maintenance and upgradation is being projected as wasteful expenditure”, the Commission said.
It said because there have been instances of pilferages in the newly constructed toilets, “an access-control system was initially tried but not found feasible in practise”.
The smart card based access control system had cost over Rs five lakh for two toilets which were renovated at an additional cost of Rs 30 lakh, the RTI reply has said.
The Commission said that the toilets being repaired or renovated are public toilet blocks and not private toilets for senior officials or Members.
“A common complaint over the years was the poor quality of the toilets in the building — a complaint made not just by the ministers and foreign dignitaries who visit, but also by the staff and the journalists”, the statement said.
It said during renovation it was found that old plumbing and sewerage systems had deteriorated, and needed almost complete replacement and Fire control systems also had to be added, in accordance with the regulatory requirements.