Uttar Pradesh ministers have spent a whopping Rs 9 crore over the past four years only on “chai paani” (refreshment) in contrast to the austerity measures Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s loses no opportunity to remind one.
As many as 72 ministers had claimed Rs 8.78 crore as “pocket money” between 2012 and 2016 for food and other expenses during official tours, said Yadav in a reply to the UP Assembly.
This is not all, they get Rs 2,500 per day for tours within UP and Rs 3,000 per day outside it. But most of the amount is spent on feeding personal visitors and supporters. Moreover, the ministers claim the amount sans providing vouchers or bills, according to DNA.
Culture Minister (Independent Charge) Arun Kumari Kori, who spent Rs 22.93 lakh tops the list of such ministers. Senior minister Azam Khan, known for his simple and frugal lifestyle, is the second highest spender with Rs 22.86 lakh.
Interestingly, the CM’s uncle and powerful cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav has not claimed a single rupee as his “pocket money” so far.
“Ministers are the face of the government. But here they seem to be hell bent upon looting every rupee so that they can lay their hands on it,” said BJP legislature party leader Suresh Khanna.
Flashing the list before the media, he said 28 ministers had claimed Rs 12 lakh or more, and a dozen Rs 20 lakh each in the name of “pocket money”.
But the ministers have ready answers. “The money taken is not for our pockets. It is spent on serving tea and refreshments to those who meet us,” said Azam Khan.
Labour minister Shahid Manzoor said, “We don’t have any other source of income.”