The Telangana government came under fire from the opposition by buying luxury cars from IAS officials in the province during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
The 32 new used vehicles arrived in Pragati Bhavan on Sunday for distribution to additional collectors sent to the province.
With the state of the province in dire straits due to limited funding and inadequate health infrastructure, the distribution of vehicles, estimated to cost about ₹ 25 lakh each, raised eyebrows.
Criticizing the act, BJP spokesman Krishna Sagar Rao has registered an opposition party in his party against “social crime extermination” by Prime Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) to “please the authorities” in the province.
“How can the Prime Minister of KCR justify spending more than ₹ 11 crores to buy 32 luxury cars for more collectors in Telangana State?” asked the BJP leader.
Trying to get the Telangana Prime Minister to indulge in “wasting public money” during the epidemic, he called for a decision to buy more collectors “scary and unthinkable” cars in the current state of public health.
Krishna Sagar Rao went on to say, “Finance Minister Harish Rao has made recent statements that the state has lost a lot of money through the detention of COVID-19 and wants an increase in Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) to raise more money.”
The BJP questioned whether the Minister of Finance had ever behaved properly in this economic situation as his department was spending thousands of dollars on luxury cars.
Krishna Sagar suggested that the money spent on luxury cars could be used to extend beds or provide free care for the poor. He called for the reversal of the decision and called on the government to suspend the purchase of cars.
He also accused the Telangana government Rashtra Samithi (TRS) of “soliciting bribes” from the management and said, “The BJP wants to know, what does the Prime Minister expect from the extra collectors of this bold protest authority?”
The move also drew criticism from the Telangana Congress. AICC spokesman Sravan Dasoju called the Telangana government’s action “a waste of money”.
“The KCR-led TRS government is not paying much attention to public finances. As a result, the KCR has put the Telangana province in a debt trap with a huge debt of about 4 lakh lakh,” the Congress leader said.
“On top of that, when the state is in dire financial straits because of COVID, KCR has the courage to buy 32 luxury cars, at a cost of ₹ 30 lakhs each, as a gift to its additional collectors. They already have government cars also in good condition. Where was the need to buy new cars? asked Dasoju.
The Congress leader went on to put CM Telangana in the corner, saying he wanted to “attract” collectors with new cars and make them “mere spectators” of his mistreatment.
“The TRS government does not have the funds to secure beds in public hospitals. They do not have the money to buy public transport buses, they do not even have the money to make payments to contractors, and to release debts that have been waiting for months.
Dismissing the harsh spending, he said, “We wonder if the KCR government has partnered with a car company and dealers with unnecessary money that crores in the financial crisis. I wonder if it is a desirable agreement for the state government to get financial assistance from a car company.”
He also reminded the Prime Minister that he is only the custodian of public funds and not the owner.