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 connect with people duringtheir roadshows and rallies from February 10 to 12.Work on planting ornamental trees in the road divider at Jewargi Town between Bidar-Sriranapattana National Highwaystarted on Thursday. Pits were been dug using excavators. 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. “Pits have been dug along the road divider due to which electricity cables and telephone lines were cut.” Congress MLA Ajay Singh, however, dimissed the allegations and said the trees add to the town’s beauty. “The timing of planting the palm trees is just a coincidence. Jewargi Municipality has invited tenders for electrification along that stretch at a cost of `80 lakh and we have planted trees before work commences.”