A press conference was organised at Press Club of India, Delhi to highlight gross malpractices at Youth Hostels Association of India ( YHAI ) including deaths of 20 students from Gujarat during trekking program, blatant misuse of government funds and arbitrary practices in the body elections, there have been consistent complaints filed against YHAI by the individuals who have been active members of the organisation since 3 decades.
Youth Hostel Association of India – YHAI is a body, which is governed by its rules and regulations and has a YHAI and various YHAI State Branches/Bodies/Chapters in the country. A Writ petition was also filed in the past seeking the right to vote in the elections of EAST UNIT DELHI STATE BRANCH of YHAI.That the Petitioners have been member of YHAI since 30 years.
It is to be noted that the term of the elected bodies is 3 years and whenever such bodies are constituted, the election to these bodies ought to be held within the term, which is prescribed so that the newly elected body can assume office immediately upon the earlier bodies term coming to an end. If the elections are not held, it has the result of perpetuating one particular body to continue.
On the contrary, the retirees are still clinging on to their posts sidelining the youths.
According to the Memorandum & Rules & Regulations of Association, National Chairman was to appoint ‘Scrutiny Committee’ to hold the election which has not been notified as yet.
It is pertinent to mention that YHAI is trying to carry out election in closed doors so as to enable them to elect themselves or members of their own preference.
YHAI has been receiving financial assistance from various Ministries under Govt. of India and as well as the state governments. Department of Youth Affairs, Govt. of India has also granted financial aid to YHAI in the past.
On several occasions, YHAI was asked to disclose about how the allocated funds were used and how the financial aid has benefitted those who subscribed to the different programmes of YHAI. The Central Information Commissioner has also asked the YHAI regarding the funds and its expenditure. YHAI is yet to answer. Moreover, the office-bearers have tried to duck it as the organisation doesn’t purview under the RTI.
It is a moral responsibility of YHAI to ensure transparency of the public money and accountability of public authority to attach YHAI under RTI and ensure a CAG audit of the different bank accounts used in the purchase of Darjeeling, Bengaluru and Ooty Hostels.
Another grave concern is the death of 20 youths in recent years who had subscribed to YHAI’s trekking program. So far, not a single office bearer has been taken to task for the 20 innocent lives lost. It’s a stark reality of gross ignorance and incompetent behaviour by YHAI.