Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], June 14 (ANI): The Telangana government came under Opposition's fire for purchasing a fleet of luxury cars for IAS officers in the state amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
As many as 32 new luxury multi-utility vehicles reached Pragati Bhavan on Sunday for distribution to additional collectors posted in the state.
With the state exchequer in a bad condition due to less revenue and insufficient medical infrastructure, the allocation of the cars, estimated to cost about Rs 25 lakh each, has raised eyebrows.
Criticising the move, BJP spokesperson K Krishna Sagar Rao registered a strong opposition on his party's behalf against the "criminal splurge of public exchequer" by Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) to "appease bureaucrats" in the state.
"How can Chief Minister KCR justify spending over Rs 11 crores to buy 32 ultra-luxury vehicles for additional collectors in Telangana State ?" the BJP leader asked.
Claiming that Telangana Chief Minister is indulging into a "massive wastage of public money" in the middle of a pandemic, he termed the decision to buy ultra-luxury vehicles for additional collectors as "horrendous and unthinkable" in the current public health situation.
Krishna Sagar Rao further said, "Finance Minister Harish Rao made statements recently that state has lost massive revenue with COVID-19 lockdowns and wanted increased Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) limits to raise more loans."
The BJP questioned the Finance Minister's bare minimum fiscal discipline in the current economic situation as his department is releasing crores of rupees for ultra-luxury vehicles.
Krishna Sagar suggested that the money used in buying luxury cars could have been used to expand beds or provide free treatment to the poor. He demanded the immediate rollback of the decision and asked the government to stop the purchase of the vehicles.
He also blamed the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government for "brazen appeasement" of bureaucrats and said, "BJP wants to know, what is the Chief Minister expecting from the additional collectors with this brazen bureaucrats appeasement splurge?"
The move also attracted criticism from Telangana Congress. AICC Spokesperson Sravan Dasoju called the Telangana government's move a "height of irresponsible expenditure".
"The TRS government led by KCR is completely irresponsible in handling public money. As such KCR has pushed the surplus state of Telangana into a debt trap with a whopping debt of about Rs 4 lakh crores," claimed the Congress leader.
"On top of it, when the state is in a serious financial crisis due to COVID, KCR has the audacity to buy 32 luxury cars, at a cost of Rs 30 lakhs each, as a gift to his additional collectors. They already have government cars with them in good condition. What was the need to buy new cars?" asked Dasoju.
The Congress leader further cornered the Telangana CM, saying that he wants to "allure" the collectors with new cars and make them "mere spectators" of his misgovernance.
"The TRS government does not have money to ramp up the beds in government hospitals. They do not have money to buy buses for public transport, do not have money even for making payments to the contractors, and release bills that are pending for months. In such a crisis it is completely unacceptable that KCR is misusing public money," stated Dasoju.
Condemning the callous spending, he said, "We wonder if the KCR government has colluded with the car company and dealers for the unwanted deal worth crores in this financial crisis. I wonder whether it is a dubious deal of the state government to get financial relief from the car company."
He further reminded the Chief Minister that he is only a custodian of public money and not the owner. (ANI)