Car Craze: After Camry, Mysore University Splurges on Fortuner
By Vincent D'Souza | ENS | Published: 02nd February 2014 08:11 AM |
Less than a year after it bought a Toyota Camry 2.5 G for its vice-chancellor, the University of Mysore has violated rules again and splurged on a swanky Fortuner.
The Camry cost the university Rs 23.29 lakh, and its latest acquisition has set it back by Rs 22.30 lakh, plus taxes and registration fees. University regulations say such big-ticket purchases cannot be made without prior budget provisions.
According to documents available with Express, the university bought a Fortuner (4x2) MT FC from Balaji Auto Enterprises, Mysore, at an ex-showroom price of Rs 22,30,504 on October 21, 2013, at a discount of Rs 25,000. It spent Rs 2,000 on a temporary registration.
A letter signed by the university registrar, approving the payment of an advance, said the money should be paid under the ‘Collaboration’ head of 2013-14. It also said the purchase, “for university purpose”, had received administrative approval after the vice-chancellor gave his consent.
The purchase violates the Karnataka State Universities (KSU) Act rules, and is made without proper approvals, RTI activist and retired reader M N Nanjunda Raj Urs told Express. The university budget had made no provision for the purchase. Section 32 (4) of the KSU Act says a vice-chancellor cannot spend more than `50,000 without the approval of the government finance committee on anything for which provision has not been made in the budget. The committee comprises secretaries of the government’s finance, higher education, planning and development departments. Even this allowance for the vice-chancellor is made in case of urgency, and the reason must be recorded in writing.
For its employees, the government keeps a tight rein on vehicle purchases and does not allow even senior bureaucrats to buy luxury cars. Although UoM is autonomous, an unwritten principle dictates that it must follow the same decorum as government officials, bureaucrats say.
A circular issued by the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department in 2008 limits the expenditure on a new vehicle to Rs 5 lakh for department heads and Rs 6.50 lakh for those holding the positions of Principal Secretary and Secretary.
Vice-Chancellor K S Rangappa claimed the university has not violated any rule. He initially said budget estimates had been “re-arranged” to buy the Fortuner, but later said the university had spent funds available with its National Service Scheme unit to ferry dignitaries invited to its functions. He maintained the authorities had got all necessary approvals.