The State Government and Government Concerns Drivers’ Federation has urged the Karnataka government to stop the practice of hiring private vehicles, which is a burden on the State exchequer amounting to several crores of rupees annually.

The Federation alleged that bureaucrats in various government departments, state-government undertakings, corporations and boards ‘intentionally’ avoided the use of government vehicles. Instead, they prefer hired vehicles for ‘personal gains.’

Addressing presspersons here, the federation’s president, M.N. Venugopal said that over 50,000 vehicles are being hired across the state, the annual expenditure of which amounts to Rs. 6 lakh per vehicle. “Government vehicles will be stationed at garages even for a minor repair. This practice has led to 10,000 government drivers jobless. Despite this, bureaucrats appoint drivers on contract basis,” he said.

Mr. Venugopal said that government should take action against officials who hired private vehicles although they were provided with designated ones. Stating that contract drivers are paid a meagre amount, Mr. Venugopal said the drivers were paid a monthly remuneration of Rs. 7,000, although bureaucrats claimed to be paying them Rs. 11,600.

“The government should keep its vehicles in order and utilise the services of the permanent staff for the job they were meant to do,” he said. He also sought recruitment of 40,000 drivers. The Federation has threatened to launch agitation if the issues are not redressed within 60 days.

The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, headed by Kodihalli Chandrashekar, too opposed the misuse of government vehicles and threatened to launch a State-wide agitation over the issue.

“As far as the misuse of government vehicles is concerned, the KRRS, during 1980, had launched an agitation where activists used to stop vehicles of bureaucrats and deflate tyres. We will have to revive such agitation if the government fails to curb the misuse of government vehicles,” he warned.

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