Ministers to tighten belt, in new cars

Eight of them want brand new vehicles

Ministers to tighten belt, in new cars

Several ministers in the Jagadish Shettar Cabinet, after refurbishing their offices at the Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha at considerable cost for the government, are now seeking brand new four-wheelers.

Four senior ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa and four first-time ministers have sought replacement of their existing cars with new ones.

Eshwarappa, who is holding two key portfolios of the Revenue and the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, is apparently not comfortable travelling around in the existing Honda CRV, though the high-end luxury car, is in a good condition. He wants a brand new vehicle of the same make. The starting price of Honda CRV is Rs 22.89 lakh.

The Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) has forwarded his application in this regard to the Finance Department (FD) seeking its approval, official sources said.

As per existing FD guidelines, Cabinet ministers are entitled to a new car once the existing vehicle runs one lakh km or is three years old. The DPAR is authorised to spend up to Rs 14 lakh for buying a vehicle for a minister. To exceed that limit, FD’s approval is a must. However, the guidelines do not apply to the chief minister.

Other Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka, who holds the Transport and Home portfolios, too is using a Honda CRV, which belongs to the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar is, however, using the same Honda CRV that his predecessor D V Sadananda Gowda had bought during his tenure, sources said.

Besides, four other senior ministers, who were part of the D V Sadananda Gowda Cabinet, too, want new cars. They are Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani, Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Housing Minister V Somanna and Animal Husbandry Minister Revu Naik Belamagi.

Nirani and Belamagi want their existing Corolla Altis and Toyota Innova to be replaced with new vehicles. Bommai and Sommanna want their Corolla Altis to be replaced by Toyota Innovas, the official said.

The eight-seater Toyota Innova diesel is priced at Rs 14 lakh, while the four-seater Corolla Altis costs Rs 13.87 lakh.

The first-time ministers are not far behind. The department had allotted to them Corolla Altises available with it. Except Tourism Minister Anand Singh, all have sought new Toyota Innovas. Six other ministers were given brand new cars soon after they assumed office, sources said.

The DPAR, sources said, will have to spend nearly Rs 1.5 crore for fulfilling the ministers’ wish to have swanky new transport. Most ministers prefer Toyota Innova as it can seat more people than Altis. Vehicles junked by the ministers are usually used for protocol purposes, including ferrying State guests.

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