The Planning Commission’s inclusive plank has turned exclusive in its own office. The plan panel, which has been propagating the inclusive growth approach, has made the toilets in Yojana Bhawan — its headquarters — exclusive for its senior-level officials.
To maintain the exclusivity, the panel installed an access system costing Rs 5.19 lakh in the toilets and distributed 60 swipe cards to officials above the level of director. It also posted janitors in the area to ensure that others do not use the toilet.
In a reply to a RTI query, the panel admitted that the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has distributed 60 swipe cards to ensure privileged usage of the toilets. The panel had got four swanky toilets built for Rs 47.66 lakh — which amounts to the cost of two Delhi Development Authority double-bedroom flats, and enough to provide a day’s subsidised food to around 15 lakh poor people.
The original plan of the panel was to get the ‘VIP toilets’ renovated to the standards set by the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport. In April 2011, a proposal was floated to restrict entry to the toilets, so they could be kept clear and the fittings would not be disturbed.
The proposal received the instant approval of top echelons of the commission, who said that unclean toilets would present a bad picture to global dignitaries visiting the Planning Commission office. Though the access system was installed and operationalised in May, it was withdrawn after some mediapersons protested. The plan panel got around Rs. 1 lakh crore allocated for uplifting the poor, but failed to enforce the same in its own office.