Majid Jahangir, Srinagar
The Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to order 100 new Sports Utility Vehicle for their MLAs, MLCs and ministers, costing the exchequer Rs 11 crore has elicited angry reactions.
Both the opposition parties and flood victims who continue to wait for rehabilitation even one year after the natural calamity struck the state, have questioned the state government’s priority
Jantakareporter.com has learnt that the state home department, a portfolio held by chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, had issued this order.
The 100 new Mahindra Scorpio S10 BS4 , each costing RS 11 lakh will be procured at DGS&D rates under the state budget 2015-16.
The order, issued by the Principal Secretary to government, home department, R K Goyal, reads, ” Sanction is accorded to procurement of 100 Mahindra Scorpio S10 BS Vehicles on DGS &D rates of Rs 11,26,208 per vehicle in favor of the Director General of Police, J&K as sitting Vehicle for use of Hon’ble MLAs/MLCs, during the current year 2015-16.”
The order comes just a couple of days before the state marks the first anniversary of the floods that killed more than 300 people, rendered millions homeless and caused widespread damage to properties and business worth thousands of crores of rupees.
The move has been criticized by the opposition national conference and state congress as well.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted,” The @jkpdp President claims they inherited empty coffers when they clearly have enough money to buy 100 new Boleros.”
The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee Chief G.A. Mir, expressed shock over the government’s order to purchase 100 vehicles at the whopping cost of 11 crore.
Talking to jantakareporter.com, he said, ” I feel that government should have thought before passing this order in regard to purchasing 100 vehicles. The first priority should have been to rehabilitate the flood victims and not to purchase costly vehicles. Every MLA has bullet proof vehicle and they also have bank loans available to them if they want to buy new vehicles.
“This coalition told everyone that it was concerned about the rehabilitation of flood victims, both before and after the elections, but the order to purchase vehicles worth crores of rupees, proves that the flood victims were never their priority. ”
The ruling PDP has defended the move citing technical and security reasons.
Chief minister’s political advisor and party’s youth president Waheed Parra said, “Last year’s floods had damaged government machinery as well. Vehicle’s of MLA’s and MLCs are not in good condition so when we move anywhere it is hard to reach in time because these vehicle get stuck due to technical problems. And there is of course is security reason.”