KALABURGI: He took a state transport corporation bus to get to the village, stayed in a government school, said no to a mattress and slept on a mat, and still ended up with a bill of Rs. 1 crore. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who spent a day at Chandarki village as part of his ‘village stay’ programme, is now staring at an expense of almost Rs 1 crore with a large chunk of spent on making arrangements for his large entourage and the visitors.
Sources told The New Sunday Express that almost Rs. 25 lakh was spent only on providing food to those who travelled to Chandarki from different parts of Yadgir district. Another Rs. 25 lakh was spent on setting up makeshift offices and counters for officials to receive petitions.
“While food was prepared to serve around 25,000 people, only 15,000 showed up. Dinner was served to around 500 school students, teachers, politicians and officials. Tiffin for the next morning is also included in the Rs. 25 lakh estimated expenditure for food,” sources said.
A whopping Rs. 50 lakh was reportedly spent on the stage and other related arrangements. During his ‘janata darshan’ programme, Kumaraswamy met around 4,000 people, while another 1,800 sent their petitions online. Kumaraswamy was accompanied by a large contingent of fellow ministers, MLAs and other officials.
Local officials, eager to please, seem to have achieved the one goal that Kumaraswamy had not planned for his ‘village stay’ series, that of keeping it simple. While he said that no special arrangements will be made, the reality on the ground paints a different picture.
While the opposition is leaving no stone unturned to term the ‘village stay’ programme a political gimmick, Kumaraswamy also seems determined to put in place a system to follow up on petitions he receives during his stay.
“I have decided to create a separate cell that will monitor implementation of assurances given to people during ‘Grama Vastavya’ in different parts of the state,” the Chief Minister told TNSE. A special scheme for the state is also in the offing, after he finishes his visits to villages in Yadgir, Kalaburagi, Raichur and Bidar districts.
Commenting on his previous series of village stays in 2006 he said, “It shows successive governments were not up to the mark in responding to grievances.” On why his own assurances given in 2006 could not be fulfilled in many places, The CM laid the blame at the doors of the BJP and B S Yeddyurappa, who was Deputy Chief Minister and held the finance portfolio. “Now it (portfolio) is with me and there is a lot of time to respond to grievances,” he said.