BENGALURU: The towel, an integral part of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s attire, may rest lightly on his shoulder, but seems to be a heavy burden on the exchequer. Since April, an amount of Rs 9.57 lakh was spent on purchasing fabrics, which also included the chief minister’s favourite ‘gamcha’.
The government had spent Rs 4.78 lakh to procure towels and an additional Rs 4.79 lakh was spent on purchasing bed linens and blankets for the house since April. According to information obtained by RTI activist Marilingegowda Maali Patil, the expenditure incurred includes the ‘gamcha’ or towel, bath towels, face towels, foot mats, pillow covers, bed sheets, bed covers and blankets for his house. Seemingly, the conclusion drawn by his office is to begin right from the basics—if the very fabric within the house is impeccable, it will obviously reflect on the very fabric of the society too.
During the same period, Rs 39.73 lakh was spent on the CM’s official residence that included the construction of a compound wall and other repair works. While Siddaramaiah took care of the ‘fabric’, his ministers seem to have been busy strengthening the very foundation, if not of the state, but their homes. In all, Rs 1.71 crore was spent on the official residences of Public Works Department Minister H C Mahadevappa, Rural Development Minister H K Patil, Industries Minister R V Deshpande, Home Minister K J George and Forest Minister Ramanath Rai.
Mahadevappa topped the list with Rs 58.74 lakh in 2013-2014, followed by H K Patil with Rs 39.15 lakh (2013-2014, 2014-2015), Deshpande spentRs 37.72 lakh (2013-14, 2014-2015), George’s bill amounted to Rs 25.39 lakh (2013 to current year) and Rai’s expenses amounted to Rs 10.86 lakh (2013-2014, 2014-2015).
When contacted, Rai said he had not asked for any repair works at his official residence. “They must have taken up the repair works before handing over the house to me. Unlike the houses of other ministers, mine was repaired and handed over to me,” he said. While George denied spending such amounts, Deshpande said that his official residence was like a ‘ghost house’ when it was allotted to him and needed immediate renovation.“It was in a very bad shape. I had asked for the repair works to be carried out and it was the responsibility of the PWD to estimate the cost and carry out the work,” said Deshpande.