January 21st, 2016
Source: dailymail | Image Courtesy: cruisinblazin
While Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar preaches austerity, his cabinet colleagues splurge on car fuel.
An RTI activist Jagjit Singh Walia has raised suspicion over the distances travelled by Haryana Ministers in government cars, saying that the exorbitant distances logged by them point towards ‘foul play’.
The government’s response to this RTI query shows official vehicles issued to the Haryana government are always on the run!
While eight official vehicles belonging to the CM cover less than 20,000 km in a month, cars allotted to other cabinet ministers are driven far more than all of the CM’s cars put together.
Cars allotted to some of the cabinet ministers are driven close to 28,000 km a month, or 933 km a day, or four round trips from Gurgaon to Chandigarh, burning fuel worth around Rs. 2 lakh.
Some of these cars cover over 15,000 km every month on an average. Hence, on an average these cars cover over 500 km a day.
On the other hand, the chief minister, who has eight cars,covers 17,000 – 19,000 km in a month. The total usage of two cars allotted to Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma was nearly 28,000 km in the month of July and the government paid a fuel bill of Rs 1.82 lakh.
His luxurious Toyota Fortuner and Maruti SX4 covered 25,360 km, 22,028 km, 25,454 km in the months of August, September and October respectively.
His fuel bill for four months came to a mighty Rs 6.20 lakh amount with an average of Rs 1.55 lakh a month. Also, the CM’s eight cars consumed fuel worth Rs 90,000 during the same period.
Similarly, cars allotted to other ministers are also being overused like the cars allotted to Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar has run 24,360 kilometres in the month of October followed by 18,640 km, 23,596 km and 18,756 km, 23,596 km and 18,40 km in July, August and September respectively.
State minister Krishan Kumar’s car runs 18,524 kilometres per month on an average. Haryana Public Health Engineering Minister Ghanshyam Saraf’s average car usage is 17,782 kilometres per month. Minister of State for Food and Supplies Karandev Kamboj’s cars are running 16,926 km per month on an average.
However, on a positive note, cabinet ministers claimed that the extensive usage of cars is an indication that the ministers are working hard and are connected to the people.
“Car usage shows who is working for the public. Our job is to reach out to the maximum number of people. I start my day early and travel as much I can. I have to attend various sabhas, visit government departments and meet people. There are times when I eat breakfast and lunch while travelling in the car,” Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar told Mail Today, while justifying the excess use of official vehicles.
“The figures are shocking. The average use of eight cars allotted to the chief minister is rather low but that of his cabinet colleagues is way too high. Most of the ministers are using their cars beyond 15,000 kilometres a month. This indicates that official cars are being misused. The government should probe the usage of these cars,” said the RTI applicant Jagjit Singh Walia.
Now to highlight the bright sideof this issue, there are some ministers whose cars run less than 12,000 kilometres a month on average. This includes Finance and Industries Minister Captain Abhimanyu, Bikram Singh Thekedar, Kavita Jain, Nayab Singh Saini and Narbir Singh.
It is high time all our ministers start practicing what they preach or the ‘odd-even rule’ may just get permanently enforced.
– Nikita Mathur