BANGALORE: New ministers of the Congress government will zoom into the Vidhana Soudha in their swanky new multi-utility vehicles (MUVs). Twenty Toyota Innovas were purchased by the department of personnel and administrative reforms (DPAR) at a cost of Rs 2.87 crore, each car costing over Rs 14 lakh. Chief minister Siddaramaiah has been given an SUV Toyota Fortuner worth nearly Rs 24 lakh.
Incidentally, the process of purchasing the new cars was already underway even before the new government took over as it had been sanctioned by the previous Jagadish Shettar government.
According to official sources, the Toyota sedans and Innovas that were used by the ministers in the previous government had completed their running period and were overused. “Most of the ministers use their vehicles to reach nearby districts and extensively use them in their assembly segments. The wear and tear is more in this and normally new cars are given to the ministers in the new government,” a senior official in the DPAR told TOI.
The official said keeping in mind the activities and nature of work of a minister, MUVS are preferred of late. Ministers in the SM Krishna cabinet were given Contessa cars that were compact but not many supporters of a minister could be accommodated in it. But in Innova , besides ministers, at least six-eight aides can easily be seated. “So ministers and officials prefer MUVs now,” he said.
All the 20 new vehicles will be given to the ministers of cabinet rank, while the eight ministers of state will have to make do with second-hand cars — they can pick the best vehicles used by the previous government.
Not only ministers, even higher officials like DG&IG, city police commissioners, DCs, SPs, secretaries and principal secretaries have been given MUVs. Vehicles that were used by previous ministers will be given to the joint secretary/director level officers. However , most of the vehicles will be sent to districts for use. “There used to be an auction system for those vehicles that cannot be reused at any levels. However, none of the vehicles used by the ministers in previous government is in that condition and soon they will be sent to districts ,” sources said.
New cars from old government
The present government has nothing to do with purchase of new vehicles. The DPAR with approval of chief secretary got sanction for the new cars in April itself from former CM Jagadish Shettar. That’s the norm in any case. “Regardless of the party that comes to power new vehicles are given. Even if BJP had regained power, new vehicles would have been given to the ministers,” sources said.