The education department in Hisar has sought Rs 8.4 lakh to part with the information on the status of separate toilets for girls and boys in government schools, much to the dismay of an RTI activist who had moved an application in this regard.
Krishan Kumar Lohia (61), a Hisar-based RTI activist, who had sought information on 11 points, said he had filed an application on October 1 addressed to the Hisar district education office.
"I had asked the education department to provide with the information as to how many toilets for girls and boys exist in all government schools in Hisar district," said the RTI activist who had sought information on more than 500 issues using the Right to Information Act so far.
According to the RTI application (in possession of HT), Lohia had asked as to how many toilets should be there according to the department norms and what hygiene provisions were made in toilets.
He had also asked about the source of drinking water in government schools and sought a compiled copy of all the details. Besides he had also sought to know the teacher-student ratio in these schools and a copy of norms regarding the same.
Lohia told HT that he had received a letter from Hisar district education officer that in order to provide him these details, the department would incur a cost of Rs 8.45 lakh, so the applicant is requested to pay amount either by a DD (demand draft) or a cheque.
He added that he had approached the state information commission so that he could get information at a minimum cost in the larger interest of society. Lohia, who also runs his factory in Hisar, said he had previously faced such obstacles in seeking information from a government department, though he was later provided with information at a minimal cost.
Subhash, state convener of Haryana Suchna Adhikar Manch, said such hefty amount is demanded by the government departments as an excuse when they lack updated database of the required information or to hide details, which can affect certain individuals or officials.