As per the Government resolution a Minister privilege for getting a convoy of vehicles was cancelled in 2005 and it was decided to provide only one vehicle for each Minister and which had in practice, but the State’s Agriculture Minister Pandurang Phundkar and Minister of State Sadabhau Khot seem to have broken the rules. Whereas, Pandurang Phundkar has been provided with two additional vehicles along with driver, Sadabhau Khot has been provided an additional one more vehicle with driver as per the surprising information provided to RTI Activist Anil Galgali by the Maharashtra Agriculture Development Corporation. Further the Principal Secretary, the Minister’s private secretary and the former agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil seems to have washed their linen in the water which flowed.
“I sought information from the Maharashtra Agriculture Development Corporation about the details of vehicles provided by it to the minister’s, his aides and others by it. In the information provided by the Maharashtra Agriculture Development Corporation it was revealed that, Agriculture Minister Pandurang Phundkar has been provided two vehicles and three drivers, all the three drivers are on contract with the corporation. Similarly Minister of State Sadabhau Khot has been provided with one vehicle and two drivers and both are on contract basis, also the Principal Secretary of Agriculture department, Bijaykumar and the Private secretary of the Agriculture Minister has been provided with one vehicle each and drivers of both are permanent staff of the corporation,” said Galgali.
The Former Agriculture Minister and the current Leader of Opposition in the state, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil is using his personal vehicle but is using the services of the driver employed permanently with the corporation. The expenses for maintenance of Pandurang Phundkar’s vehicles incurred by the corporation was Rs 25,25,809 in the past seven months including new vehicle amount. Sadabhau Khot was provided with a new vehicle and including the cost of the vehicle an amount totalling Rs 26,50,278 has been spent by the corporation. The vehicle in service of the Principal Secretary Bijaykumar has incurred a cost of Rs 66,035 on service and fuel. On the vehicle provided to Pvt Secretary Dhurzad a cost of Rs 47,534 has been incurred.
“The Agriculture department’s Under Secretary U M Madan that both the Minister Pandurang Phundkar and Minister of State Sadabhau Khot have been provided with one by it each costing Rs 19,99,999. The General Administration Department of the govt has also informed Galgali that, as per the Govt Resolution dated December 26, 2005, both the Minister’s have been provided with one vehicle each for their use, by rejecting of convoy system. It is clear from the details that the both the Minister’s have been using multiple vehicles by circumventing and flouting the government resolution,” alleged Galgali.
He further said that the ministers have been misusing their position and have availed services of additional vehicles and staff as such the Government should recover the public money being splurged by the Minister’s and the same should be recovered from them. Similarly the actions of the Principal Secretary Bijaykumar and the private secretary should be enquired into and penalties and cost should be recovered from them.
“The Maharashtra Agriculture Development Corporation is functioning in loss and as such the funds are being rampantly misused. The government should enquire and find out all such similar violation by other Minister’s, Bureaucrats, Officers, OSD, staff and cronies of the Minister’s and action should be initiated and costs recovered from them forthwith,” added Galgali.