Gold Biscuits for MLAs? Karnataka Assembly Gala Plan Sparks Row
Under the Rs 26.87 crore plan, MLAs & MLCs will get gold biscuits & secretariat employees will get silver plates.
The distressing apathy of civic agencies in Bengaluru in tending to the horrible condition of the roads and sewer lines has claimed ten lives already. In the midst of such a crisis, the Karnataka Assembly is reportedly planning a massive gala for the diamond jubilee of the Vidhana Soudha. And among the amusingly garish proposals for the celebration, apparently, is the distribution of gold biscuits to MLAs and MLCs in the state.
Yes, gold biscuits. And silver plates to the employees of the secretariat.
The secretariat, in its proposal submitted to the Finance Department, has included 300 gold biscuits and 5,000 silver plates, according to a source in the Finance Ministry.
Although not everyone seems to be on board with the plan. The Finance Ministry source says that in all likelihood, the fanciful plan will be rejected. The source said:
The proposal was sent to the Finance Department, but it will be rejected. The proposal was to give gold biscuits, on which the emblem of the Vidhana Soudha was to be engraved. This would cost about Rs 50,000 per biscuit and Rs 5,000 per silver plate.
Rs 27-Crore Celebrations?
But even without these lavish gifts, the celebrations will burn a massive hole in the state treasury’s pocket. The secretariat has sought Rs 26.87 crore from the Finance Department for the two-day celebrations, including Rs 3 crore towards these lavish gifts.
However, the Finance Department is yet to clear the proposal and is waiting for Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who handles the finance portfolio, to either give the go-ahead or decline the proposal.
“The state secretariat did not consult any of the Cabinet Ministers before drawing up the proposal. The plan is yet to receive the cabinet nod,” a source in the Law Department told TNM.
When the matter was raised in the cabinet meeting last week, many ministers reportedly expressed their displeasure over the decision taken by Assembly Speaker KB Koliwad and Legislative Council Chairman DH Shankaramurthy.
The ‘Confused’ Speaker
Meanwhile, Speaker Koliwad, who had initially said that the proposal was pending clearance from the Finance Department, has now denied that such a proposal exists.
“The CM is the Finance Minister and he needs to take a decision,” Speaker Koliwad had told India Today on Sunday, 15 October.
However, he later told ANI that no such proposal was sent. “I assure you, there is no proposal for distribution of gold coins and silver plates,” he said.
Leaders Slam Proposal
The proposal for lavish spending has received severe criticism from several leaders.
Strongly criticising the proposal, BJP leader Suresh Kumar called the proposal “nonsense of the highest order”. He said:
The council is of the opinion that people are not attending the assembly sessions and they wanted to spend money to offer incentives to the legislators. Now these gold biscuits. This is nonsense of the highest order and complete waste of taxpayers’ money.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Working President, Dinesh Gundu Rao, said:
This proposal is not acceptable. There is no need to spend so much money on such things. We can use the amount for other things, and we should not waste the taxpayers’ money. I will convey my objection to the Chief Minister.
What Exactly Is Planned for the Two-Day Lavish Ceremony?
The Karnataka government is planning its diamond jubilee celebrations on 25 October, where a joint session of the Assembly will be held. Legislators are all set to discuss topics including the formation of Mysore State, integration of Karnataka State, and various instances in the history of Karnataka state and Kannada language.
Family members of former Chief Ministers KC Reddy, Kengal Hanumanthaiya and Kadidal Manjappa, will be honoured on the occasion.
The celebration will include a show on 3D mapping of the Vidhana Soudha and a 3D virtual reality show produced by child actor and director Kishan.
Residents of the state can experience a 360-degree view of the Vidhana Soudha through virtual experience as well.
Grammy Award recipient Ricky Kej and his team will present a musical performance. The Public Works Department has taken up renovation of the Vidhana Soudha and Rs 3.5 crore is being spent on lighting.
PWD is set on redoing the lobby, replacing mosaic steps with granite slabs. The department is also proposing to wash the walls of the structure, which has not been done in the last 15 years.
(This article was originally published in The News Minute.)
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