You may have chuckled at our dear legislators for demanding swanky flats at Commonwealth Games village near Akshardham temple at concessional rates.
But Delhi ministers and MLAs are known for making interesting requests now and then. While some are legitimate, some are bizarre.
“The first thing a newly appointed minister or a MLA, appointed as head of a board or a corporation, demands is a new car. As soon as they get one – old or new – they get the seat covers changed and get modern accessories installed, sometimes costing nearly a lakh,” said a senior Delhi government official requesting anonymity.
Some of Delhi ministers — finance minister Ashok Kumar Walia and revenue minister Raj Kumar Chauhan — and Delhi assembly speaker Yoganand Shastri have recently been given new Toyota Innova cars.
Sources said many MLAs’ demand for new cars is pending for quite some time now.
New interiors and new furniture for their offices is another demand ministers and corporation heads make as soon as they assume office.
Delhi MLAs have also demanded a hike in salaries, which the government has even acceded to.
Sources said the Delhi cabinet is soon expected to clear the proposal to increase MLAs salary from the existing Rs. 32,000 to over Rs. 100,000 and a minister’s salary from existing Rs. 36,000 to Rs. 1.25 lakh.
Fancy numbers or ‘VIP’ numbers for their cars is yet another ‘demand’ MLAs have often raised and has been fulfilled.
The Delhi government had barred the allotment of VIP or the fancy numbers after the ‘Cholegate’ scam in 2007.
“The ban has been lifted and MLAs and ministers are among some categories eligible for fancy numbers once in five years,” an official said.
Demand for a personal security officer is one request Delhi MLAs have been making for quite sometime now.
Sources said Delhi and Rajasthan are two states in India where MLAs are not provided security officers.
“The fact that the police in Capital report to the union home ministry is probably the only reason why the state government has not been able to meet its MLAs’ demands,” a Delhi government official.
When the Delhi MLAs were given laptops few years ago, they demanded new laptops. Once they got new laptops, the MLAs demanded that the government provide them with a laptop operator too.
The government now reimburses MLAs Rs. 10,000 per month each to hire a laptop or computer operator.