An RTI filed by activist Anil Galgali has revealed that Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis approved Rs 8 lakh for a government employee dance troupe to participate in a competition in Bangkok at a time farmers ended their lives for want of food and money.
More than 660 farmers have committed suicide in the first 10 months of 2015.
CM Devendra Phadnavis sanctioned the sum that was transferred to Sachivalaya Gymkhana for the dance contes.
The CM’s relief fund is meant to be used only for those affected by natural disasters or calamities. Far from the sole objective of the fund, the assistance for the dance match was approved as a special case.
In his RTI, Galgali sought information from the CM Relief Fund desk about the assistance provided by it to the Sachivalaya Gymkhana.
In response, the CM Relief Fund desk stated that Rs 8 Lakhs was given from the special fund. The Gymkhana had sought assistance in sending its 15-member strong team of government employees to enable them to participate in a dance competition in Bangkok from December 26-30.
“The application was sent by the CM to the CM Relief Fund desk with instructions to put up the application as a special case. On August 27, the application was put up before the CM as a special case and Rs 8 lakhs was immediately sanctioned by the CM,” Galgali was quoted by Times of India.
The money was reportedly transferred to the Sachivalaya Gymkhana’s account on 11 September. Incidentally 32 farmers in Marthwada ended their lives in the same week Fadnavis was awarding this public money meant to deal with natural calamities.
The dance troupe is scheduled to take part in the competition being held at Akshara theatre and is being organized by private entities like Akhil Bhartiya Sanskrutik Sangh and the Global Council of Art and Culture. Each of dance artiste has received a sanction of Rs 50,000 and an additional sum of Rs 50,000 has been granted to cover other miscellaneous expenses during the trip taking the overall total to Rs 8 Lakhs.
Chief Minister Fadnavis has yet to comment on this issue.