Patna: Several development projects under Patna Nagar Nigam (Patna Municipal Corporation) are put on hold due to lack of funds but the officials have been provided with cars costing several lakhs which clearly indicate the priorities of the organisation are not right. Patna Mayor Sita Sahu, Deputy Mayor Meera Devi, and other officials are seen moving in luxurious cars like Toyota Fortuner and Toyota Innova to monitor projects in the city.
One one side several projects are either delayed or are yet to take off due to paucity of funds, yet on the other hand brand new and expensive Toyota Fortuner, costing Rs 27 lakh, and Toyota Innova cars priced at Rs 14 lakh have been purchased. The Nigam has spent over Rs 1 crore for the vehicles. While the Mayor and Deputy Mayor have got Fortuners, seven other officials are riding in Innovas.
The cars are for the same officials who have been unable to solve the civic problems faced by Bihar's capital which was recently hit by floods and large parts of the city remained underwater for several days. The Patna Nagar Nigam had to bring in pumps from Madhya Pradesh to drain out the floodwaters as it did not have any equipment of its own to tackle the situation.
"The committee and officials have got expensive cars. The Nigam has bought the cars for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor while those given to other officials have been provided by an agency and the payment for the same will be made by the Nigam," said Indradeep Chandravasnhi, a corporater and member of the committee.
Suchitra Singh, corporater of Ward Number 22 B, echoed Chandravanshi. "This is our vehicle which has been given to us by the Nigam. We will be able to attend to our work with ease if we have such vehicles. I will be able to reach to the people and listen to their woes," she claimed
When confronted, Patna Nagar Nigam Commissioner Anupam Kumar Suman failed to provide a valid reason for going ahead with the decision to buy Fortuners and Innovas. Initially, he admitted that the vehicles had been bought by the Nigam, but soon changed his statement and claimed that there is a possibility that the vehicles had been supplied by an external agency which he could not name despite the Zee Media reporter asking him repeatedly.
"No, these vehicles are not their personal cars. The vehicles provided to the officials have to be cleared by the Nigam Board. These must have been bought by government funds. Maybe they have been taken on rent, I will have to check it," said Anupam Kumar.
Deputy Mayor Meera Devi's driver claimed that all the new vehicles had been given by the Nigam. "I have been driving the Deputy Mayor's vehicle for the last five months. This has been alloted to her. The drivers are Nigam employees," he said.