by Dev Ashish Bhattacharya
This is a matter of surprise that public money is mercilessly misused in Himachal Pradesh and the people who are responsible to expose this are silent spectators because of their own vested interests. On the one hand the state always remain in HAND TO MOUTH situation and keeps on knocking the doors of Planning Commission for the Grants (Beggary) and on the other hand the Cabinet keeps on giving sanction to such expenses which are 100% avoidable.
The Camry consumes 7 litres of Petrol per Km. and in Himachal the mileage comes down to 5 Km. per litre. The maintenance cost of these cars are exorbitantly high and ground clearance is Zero, which is essential in the hill state.
Now, the same ministers of the Himachal are getting their cars replaced one by one with the approval of the same Cabinet which has approved these cars few months ago. The reason, sighted by these ministers is,they are not able to move comfortably in their constituencies in these cars( Camrys). One of the ministers has got a brand new Fortunner and another one has got Innova. Incidentally, all these Toyota brand of cars are purchased from one particular dealer( I am told).
Will these ministers ever dare to purchase such cars from their own pocket ? Why the officers concerned did not mention to these ministers about the shortcomings/unsuitability of Camry brand of cars w.r.t the Hill State.
It has also been disclosed to me that two Fortunners are purchased for the Pilot fleet of the Chief Minister, whereas, he himself travels in Innova. The Chief Minister narrowly missed to purchase a bullet proof Mercedez for himself.
Minsters travel frequently to Delhi from Himachal in these Camrys and waste huge quantity of Petrol and driver expenses. Why they do not travel in Shatabdi Express from Kalka to Delhi and avail the car facilities from Himachal Bhawan, Delhi, where lot of protocol cars are parked with drivers.
One fine early morning the King of Himachal got a dream and realised that the House Rent Allowance of the Advocate General of the state is on the lower side and decided to hike that to —–hold on your breath—– ₹ 50,000/- per month. UNBELIEVABLE! The Chief Secretary, High Court Judges and even the Chief Justice of any High Court of our country is not so lucky to get that handsome perk.
The King of the state has created the biggest ever battery of deputy and additional Advocate Generals in one of the most small High Courts of the country_ purely on the Public Money of the poor state–which even sometimes does not have the funds to pay the salary cheques to its employees.
Things do not stop here. The King besides creating a cabinet of 12 Ministers(not even a single with non-cabinet rank) has made 9 Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (of cabinet rank) and made two defeated Congress leaders as Chairpersons with Cabinet rank. It is in total violation of Home Ministry directive which has fixed the number of ministers in any state as per the number of MLAs in that Vidhan Sabha. It was done to reduce the burden on the public exchequer- but the King is King. Why should he listen to Home Minster.
Ironically, when the Cabinet needs to discuss the appointment of Doctors in the state: funds are not available. An important road of the state, Swarghat to Bilaspur, is in the bad shape and no funds to repair it. roads in the apple growing areas are in bad shape: no funds to repair them. staff crunch in every department: no funds to have fresh recruitment.Read more about his work here. He can be contacted on his Facebook profile.