Kanchan Vasdev, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 18. The cash-crunched Punjab government has shelled out Rs 4.5 crore for buying new luxury vehicles for 21 Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPSs) and five ministers. The government is spending Rs 3.36 crore on 21 Toyota Corolla cars for all CPSs and Rs 1.2 crore on five Toyota Camry cars for ministers.
The high-end models of both the sedans are priced at Rs 16 lakh (Corolla) and Rs 24 lakh (Camry).
The money has already been released for the purchase of the vehicles even while eyebrows are being raised as the government has been claiming that its coffers were empty and the state was reeling under an acute financial crunch.
Moreover, the government does not have the money to continue the atta-dal scheme and is facing difficulty in paying salaries to its employees.
A senior functionary of the Transport Department said as the five Camry cars given to the ministers have already travelled more than their mileage limit, these would have to be replaced.
Currently, the 14 CPSs have been given a Toyota Altis each and seven have been given old Toyota Camry cars that were slated for auction. “Now all the 21 will get new cars,” said a senior functionary.
While the government is taking care of the official vehicles of CPSs and ministers, it has not been able to provide official accommodation to 10 parliamentary secretaries due to non-availability.
The government is now considering paying them Rs 50,000 per month to rent private accommodation.
“We are thinking of asking them to rent accommodation for which we will compensate them,” said a senior official.