Three times the 2,200km distance between Delhi and Mumbai is how much the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director travels in his two official cars every month.
Records of the past two years obtained from the AIIMS transport office show that Dr RC Deka’s two cars burn an average of 650 litres of fuel every month. If each car’s average mileage is 10km per litre, which is considered a poor run, the director needs to have travelled 6,500km every month.
AIIMS deputy director of administration (DDA) Vineet Choudhary’s car uses up an average of 450 litres a month, which means he travels as much as 4,500km. All expenses are borne by AIIMS.
An RTI reply (a copy of which is with the Hindustan Times) shows that the director, DDA Choudhary, medical superintendent (MS) Dr DK Sharma, dean Rani Kumar (now retired), chiefs of five centres and all superintending engineers have been allocated official cars though they draw separate transport allowances as part of their salaries.
According to the AIIMS rulebook, only the director — who enjoys a rank on a par with that of a secretary in the health ministry — is allowed an official car. Deka, however, has two. That the rest were also allotted cars flouts the AIIMS rulebook.
“The director is not only using two official cars, but he also has three drivers at his call, which is also illegal. The director in his official capacity is allowed one car and one driver,” said a senior AIIMS doctor, requesting anonymity.
“Similarly, cars were allotted to departments, but they are now retained by their chiefs. So in emergency, when a faculty member needs a car, he has to rent one for which he is reimbursed. This is wasting government money,” said a faculty member.
Since the official spokesperson, Dr YK Gupta, was not in Delhi, HT contacted MS Sharma, who refused comment. The director and the DDA did not take calls or answer text messages.
Senior faculty and administrative staff have sought an inquiry into the alleged misuse of funds.
Senior officials are learnt to have spent around R1 crore, which is a fifth of the institute’s annual engineering budget, on renovating their homes and offices over the past year. “Information obtained through RTI reveals how public money has been looted in the name of renovation of officers’ bungalows, transport facility for staff and for crafty office designing,” said CPM leader Basudeb Acharya in a letter dated April 12, 2012, to the Prime Minister.
AIIMS director Deka has spent Rs 42.1 lakh, DDA Choudhary R8.4 lakh, dean Kumar Rs 2.9 lakh, MS Sharma Rs 11.6 lakh, and senior financial officer Sandeep Lal spent R8.6 lakh on their homes alone.
According to the AIIMS rulebook, the annual ceiling for home renovation for the director is R1.1 lakh, while the DDA, dean and the MS have a limit of R75, 000. The senior financial officer’s limit is Rs 60,000.
“How can one renovate an old dilapidated home at only Rs 1, 10,000, where walls are damaged, floors are dug up and servant quarters are roofless. We have had to practically rebuild a broken home,” said Dr Deepika Deka, wife of the director and a senior gynaecologist at AIIMS.
“If other faculty members have issues, one should check their accounts to see how much they have spent on doing up their homes. Let the dogs bark, it’s their problem,” she said.
In contrast, student hostels, which have been declared “dangerous” by the AIIMS engineering department and need to be torn down and rebuilt, got no funds during the same period.