The Finance Department has sent back the proposal by the State Government to sanction Rs 27 crore for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Vidhana Soudha and recommended to celebrate with only Rs 10 crores, reported Kannada Prabha.
The proposal that was submitted from the office of the Speaker was sent back with comments by the Finance Department that some of the proposed expenses were unacceptable and hence cannot be sanctioned and advised to spent Rs 10 crore for the entire celebrations, said sources.
Since the Finance Department has rejected the proposal, the Speaker’s office now has to replan the entire program and resubmit it. The Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who holds the Finance portfolio may intervene and raise it a little bit.
The proposal included gold biscuits with Vidhana Soudha logo for all of the 300 members of both the Houses costing Rs 50,000 each and silver plates for the 5000 employees at Rs 5000 each. This was strongly objected to from all quarters. The gift itself was budgeted at Rs 3 crores. The Rs 27 crore budget for celebrations would attract a GST of Rs 5 crores.
The decoration of Vidhana Soudha with flowers and lighting was budgeted at Rs 1.75 crores. Advertisements in all districts, including Bengaluru, all legislators and staff to have luxury lunch and dinners at five star hotels, music concert by Hamsalekha and Ricky Cage were planned. A documentary on Vidhana Soudha and Vidhana Parishat was planned at Rs 3 crore. The ministers and senior leaders were quite annoyed that the entire program was planned without consulting any of them. BJP and JD(S) also had protested at such a high expenditure.
Speaker K B Koliwad who submitted the proposal was very casual about the criticism saying people will criticise anyway and said “if you wear clothes or don’t wear also they criticise. When they did not spare Mahatma Gandhi will they spare us?” and defended the Rs 27 crore budget. When the media questioned him about spending public money for such lavish celebrations he had retorted saying “why should I tell you?”
When the offices of both the Houses refused to give out any information on the celebrations plans doubts were raised.