New Delhi: Notwithstanding the all around season of austerity within the UPA, its ministers wanting nothing but the best when it comes to doing up their offices.
As per a report published in a leading daily on Wednesday, the renovation expenses of the offices of some senior ministers in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet is running into lakhs of rupees.
And, obviously, their respective ministries have to pay for it – taxpayer’s money.
As per the report, the Udyog Bhawan office of Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Vilasrao Deshmukh is being renovated at an estimated cost of Rs 17.54 lakh. The minister’s wish list includes wooden flooring, false ceiling, polished porcelain tiles in toilet (Italian) and wall tiles (Spanish) to name a few.
Deshmukh even insisted on taking a private architect on board to get the design done as per his taste, the report claims.
The report also quotes Deshmukh on the reasons behind the huge spending. “The office had not been renovated for eight years. I thought it needed a revamp, especially as it is visited by many foreign delegations and people from automobile sector, I don’t know the details of what has been finally approved but work is on.”
The other ministers named in the report as spending lakhs on renovation are Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, his office do will cost the exchequer around Rs 15 lakhs. While that of Minister for State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Jitin Prasada will cost Rs 2.85 lakhs.
Clearly, the ministers would have a lot of answering to do in view of the austerity displayed by their senior most colleagues and the party leaders.
Everyone including UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is now flying economy, while the young scion Rahul Gandhi has gone one step further and is opting for trains.