Ministers have no right to use public money: Nanaiah

Sharing the concern of Janata Dal (Secular) Floor Leader in the Legislative Council M.C. Nanaiah over indiscriminate renovation of bungalows and offices allotted to Ministers according to Vaastu specifications, the government on Friday promised the Council that it would bring a bill to amend the Karnataka Legislature Salaries, Pensions and Allowances and Other Law Act, 1956.

Responding to Mr. Nanaiah’s private member bill on the subject, Minister S.R. Patil said the government too was equally concerned with indiscriminate renovation/repair of government buildings. He said the issue needs to be debated at length in the Cabinet and promised to bring in a suitable amendment bill at the earliest. Mr. Nanaiah said he would withdraw the bill based on the promise made by Mr. Patil.

Initiating discussion on his bill, Mr. Nanaiah said till about 2009, none of the Ministers had dared to demolish internal structures in the Vidhana Soudha whereas several of them got their official bungalows renovated, sometimes at a whopping cost of Rs. 80 lakh. He said Ministers had no right to spend lakhs of rupees of public money on building renovation as they are there to serve the public.

Without naming Minister for Social Welfare H. Anjaneya who is renovating his chambers in the Vidhana Soudha by bringing down a partition wall, Mr. Nanaiah said the Minister’s action and statement that ‘he only passes orders’ was the height of audacity. He wondered how Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had remained a silent witness to the demolition when he had criticised an earlier instance of demolition by the then political secretary of the Chief Minister in 2009. The reasoning behind Mr. Anjaneya’s action, that as he gets a large number of visitors he requires a bigger chamber, is not justified. There are spacious meeting halls in the Vidhana Soudha for that, Mr. Nanaiah said.

He further noted that Ministers’ chambers in the Vikasa Soudha are larger compared to the ones in the Vidhana Soudha. Unfortunately, very few Ministers have moved into that complex, he said.

Mr. Nanaiah’s bill, among other things, provided for a complete halt to structural changes in bungalows and offices. It also sought to stop performance of religious ceremonies inside the offices of Ministers.

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