BENGALURU: Ministers in the Siddaramaiah cabinet will soon be getting swanky cars although his government is struggling to mobilise finances for its five guarantees and major development projects. The government is all set to buy 33 Innova Hycross Hybrid cars from Toyota at a cost of around Rs 9.9 crore. The swanky cars are said to be “special gifts” to the ministers by the Siddaramaiah government which completed 100 days recently.
Sources in the government said usually after swearing in ministers, they prefer new cars. But this time, new cars are being purchased after three months of government formation. The Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) had sought the Finance Department’s approval to buy luxury cars for ministers. With the CM’s consent, approval has been given to buy 33 luxury cars, a senior government official told The New Indian Express.
Meanwhile, sources said Rs 9.9 crore has been sanctioned, which comes to Rs 30 lakh per car. According to the official, the ministers will get their cars within a month. “The waiting period for these cars is long, but since the government is the customer, it is expected to be reduced. In the next one month, we are likely to get the cars,” the official said. Many ministers had complained that the cars given to them had run more than 50,000 km. Sources said, “It is a challenging task as most ministers follow numerology and prefer registration numbers that suit them.”
Officials said the ministers consider buying new cars a prestigious issue when the government is finding it difficult to mobilise resources for development works as its main focus now is on the implementation of the five guarantees.
In August last, the then BJP government doubled the cash limit for higher-level bureaucrats to purchase vehicles. The additional chief secretary, principal secretary and secretary-rank officials were allowed to buy cars that cost up to Rs 20 lakh. The earlier limit was up to Rs 14 lakh. Similarly, deputy commissioners, chief executive officers of ZPs, session court judges, superintendents of police and city police commissioners can buy cars for Rs 18 lakh. The previous ceiling was Rs 9 lakh. The ceiling for senior police and other officials at the district level is Rs 12.5 lakh, up from Rs 6.5 lakh. The ceiling for other senior officials of tahsildar rank is Rs 9 lakh.