In a decision that has been slammed by the Opposition, the BJP government in Karnataka has approved new Innova cars worth ₹13.8 crore for its 32 ministers and 28 MPs, reports said.
According to a state government circular issued by the Department of Personnel and Administrative Services (DPAR), the Yediyurappa government has raised the allowance of ministers and MPs to buy vehicles to ₹23 lakh.
As per government rules, ministers can change their cars after the vehicles complete one lakh kilometres or seven years after purchase. The old cars are stationed in district headquarters and are used for transport requirements of VIPs.
Former chief minister, HD Kumaraswamy, said the decision should have been deferred following a financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “They borrowed around ₹ 85,000 crore in the name of the coronavirus pandemic. How should you utilise all this money? Had they deferred buying these new vehicles by another year, nothing would have happened. I don’t know what the urgency was,” he said.
The Congress too has questioned the government’s decision. “The government says it has no money to pay its staff, be it KSRTC bus drivers or teachers. They are now wasting money on new cars,” said Congress’ Lavanya Ballal. “When people are not being able to survive, is your comfort more important than the survival of these citizens?” she asked.
Media reports said from 2010 to 2016, 217 new cars were bought in Karnataka — 94 during the first three years of the BJP government and 127 under the Congress regime.
Earlier this year, Chief Minister, BS Yediyurappa, got a luxury SUV, Toyota Fortuner, with a price tag of about ₹ 33 lakh (ex-showroom) and 17 Toyota Innova Crystas (₹ 23 lakh ex-showroom) for state MPs.
The CM has said he will present the 2021-22 state budget in the first week of March.