Toilet seem to be making headlines under RTI
While the Press has castigated the move of the Planning Commission to renovate toilets at an expense of Rs. 30 lakhs, information obtained under the Right to Information Act (RTI) Act has revealed that toilets at the Press Club of India New Delhi were built using Rs.1.5 lakh granted from the Maharashtra Chief Minister's Relief Fund in 1998.
The application was filed by the Information Commissioner at Central Information Commission (CIC) Shailesh Gandhi during his days as an RTI activist in Maharashtra somewhere in 2004-05. The application was initially turned down on the grounds that the Fund was a private trust. After repeated attempts, it came to light that the Maharashtra Chief Minister's Relief Fund, which is basically meant for victims of natural calamities, communal riots, Naxalism and accidents, had been disbursing money to a varied class of beneficiaries. The money was distributed for a swimming club, a fine arts hall, a strategic studies institute, Raj Bhavan, and Delhi's media persons. After the information has come to light, Mr. Gandhi has commented that it was wrong for the Relief Fund to have given the money, and similarly, it was wrong for the Press Club to have accepted it. It reflects badly on both.
The current president of the Press Club of India Mr. T. R. Ramachandran has refused to comment on the Maharashtra case saying that it was long before his time. He admitted that the Press Club still accepts money from Chief Ministers across the country but not from a Relief Fund.