KALABURAGI/KOPPAL: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s administrative machinery and his party seem to have gone on an overdrive to impress Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is arriving in the state on Saturday on a three-day visit.
The government spent `25 lakh on renovating a newly constructed Inspection Bungalow in Koppal district to make the Congress chief’s stay comfortable and royal palm trees brought from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh have been planted along the road medians in Jewargi to give that cool look to the town.
Rahul, along with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other top Congress leaders, will take a bus to connect with people during their roadshows and rallies from February 10 to 12. Work on planting ornamental trees along the road divider at Jewargi Town between Bidar-Sriranapattana National Highway started on Thursday.
Sources in the Dharam Singh Foundation said 36 big royal palm trees were brought to Jewargi from a nursery in Rajamundry — about 650 km away. The attempt to give a green look to the town during Rahul’s visit costs around `6 lakh. Each of the trees cost around `15000 with an additional `40,000 going towards transporting them.
Opposition leaders feel this is wasteful expenditure as the trees do not survive. “ What’s the fun? Two days after Rahul Gandhi’s visit, the trees will perish as they were planted on a bed of cement concrete,’’ said Kedaralingayya Hiremath, a JD(S) leader from Jewargi.
Congress MLA Ajay Singh, however, dimissed the allegations and said the trees add to the town’s beauty. Jewargi Municipality has invited tenders for electrification along that stretch at a cost of `80 lakh and we have planted trees before that work commences.” Singh said government money was not spent on the beautification.
In Koppal, the move to renovate the guest house at a cost of `25 lakh has invited the wrath of locals in Kukanoor. Rahul Gandhi will halt here just for a night on February 10. Locals also questioned the rationale behind creating a huge street at a public ground where he is scheduled to address a rally.