BENGALURU: The State Government, which is already doing a tightrope walk on finances, is looking to buy at least 10 to 12 new high-end cars for some ministers as well as Parliament members from Karnataka. For this, the government will be spending close to Rs 3 crore and the Department of Personnel and Administrative Services (DPAR) has already issued an order capping the price limit at Rs 23 lakh per car.
Sources in the Chief Minister’s Office pointed out that most of the ministers and MPs prefer the high-end model of the Toyota Innova Crysta MUV, which was priced at Rs 21.7 lakh (excluding road tax). All State Government vehicles are exempt from paying road tax. In December last year, a facelift model of the Innova Crysta was launched, costing close to Rs 23 lakh.
“Hence, the DPAR officials wrote to the Finance Department to raise the limit, and it was approved,’’ the sources said.The Government Order states that the expenditure limit per car was Rs 21 lakh which was increased to Rs 22 lakh in February 2020. It has now been further increased by Rs 1 lakh.
Numerology driving new car purchases?
According to the sources, there is a proposal to buy 10 to 12 cars, including for three MPs. “We have allotted all existing vehicles to ministers and other officials. Even the new ministers in Yediyurappa’s cabinet have been given official vehicles which are in good condition. But some ministers are demanding new cars. Some of them believe in numerology are insisting on cars with registration numbers that will bring them ‘good luck’,’’ the sources said.
The government has a provision to buy cars for ministers and MPs with its funds.The leaders have to approach DPAR authorities who will write to the CM, who will then give final approval to the Finance Department. In September 2020, rules were modified and Rajya Sabha member HD Deve Gowda was given a Volvo XC60, costing Rs 60 lakh (excluding road tax). This was Rs 38 lakh more than the sanctioned amount.