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Kerala CM’s new car to bring an additional expenditure of Rs 26.23 lakh to exchequer

- June 27, 2022

Thiruvananthapuram, June 27, 2022

The cash-strapped Kerala government has decided to spend an amount of Rs 33.31 lakh on chief minister (CM) Pinarayi Vijayan’s security. The said amount is for adding a new car to the CM’s security detail. With this, a total of Rs 88.69 lakh will get spent on CM’s security convoy cars including for his travel. Earlier, it was decided to pay out Rs 62.46 lakh for purchasing four vehicles. The latest decision will cause an additional expenditure of Rs 26.23 lakh to the state exchequer.

It was following the protests in the wake of the gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh’s revelations that chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s security cover got enhanced.  In the wake of mounting protests, the police deployed a 40-member police team including commandos in the CM’s convoy.

The Opposition had earlier slammed the CM’s office as well as the home department for draining the exchequer in the name of security and for the alleged hardship being faced by the public by the CM’s travel.

Meanwhile, it was on Friday that the home department decided to purchase a new car for the CM’s travel after considering the opinion of the state police chief.

“The decision to purchase four cars for the CM’s escort/pilot/travel duty was taken in November 2021. Three cars were already purchased for Rs 55.39 lakh. But in the case of the fourth one, an objection was raised by the state police chief (SPC) as it has fewer security features.

According to the official, the SPC himself had suggested another vehicle – through two letters– in January and April 2022 – to the Home Department, as it had more security features than the one fixed earlier. The new one comes with a five-star rating from Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP). It provides comprehensive safety by reducing the impact in case of a crash. There is an over-speed warning, emergency brake light flashing, six airbags including side and curtain airbags, and others. In the case of other features, the car has VIP seats, a smart air purifier with virus protection, an 8-speed transmission, and others.

Meanwhile, the decision to buy a new car has come at a time when the Reserve Bank of India had itself warned the state of its highest debt burden. The state which has been classified as highly stressed along with Bihar, Punjab, Rajasthan, and West Bengal was also mentioned as fiscally vulnerable one. As a corrective measure, Kerala along with other states was asked to restrict their revenue expenses by cutting down expenditure. The need to conduct fiscal risk analyses was also stressed.