Rs 2 crore spent for President Pranab Mukherjee’s one hour visit

31 Dec

President Pranab Mukherjee's one hour expense by Karnataka Ministers - Image India TodayRs 198 lakh of Indian taxpayers’ money was spent in the name of renovations when President of India Pranab Mukherjee visited Belgaum to inaugurate the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in October 2012. The information was released by public works department (PWD) after an RTI application was filed by activist Bheemappa Gadad from Mudalagi in Gokak taluk.

Most of the money, Rs.1.61 crore was spent on renovating an old circuit house where the President stayed for hardly an hour. Rs.37 lakh was spent on refurbishing the main suite of the circuit house in which the President stayed for under an hour. Curtains cost Rs.5 lakh, while Rs.6 lakh was spent on the bathroom tiles, toilet doors and locks. Rs.7.5 lakh was incurred on buying bed sheets, towels and other kits while Rs.4 lakh was spent on portraits to decorate the circuit house. There are two circuit houses in Belgaum, the other was already renovated during the World Kannada Meet in 2011. The government so far had already spent Rs.50 lakh on the other circuit house. The money this time was spent on the second circuit house in which the President opted to stay because of its proximity to Suvarna Vidhana Soudha building.

The president of India obviously made a costly choice of using the wrong circuit house for his stay which forced the Karnataka ministers to spend a whopping amount towards face-lifting and renovation. According to Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements Act, 1999 the Public Works Department (PWD) should have invited competitive bids from contractors to execute civil works as the cost exceeded Rs. 4 lakh. So far it’s not clear if any competitive bidding took place for the repairs and maintenance of the Circuit House. It’s a shame that in a country where 80% of people earn $2 per day, the ministers of India are spending such a hefty amount for no major reason.

Most of the ministers in India spend taxpayers' money on useless things?

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