Who says Punjab's politicians lack drive? Just look at their fuel bills. Each car provided by the Punjab Police to former chief minister and Punjab Congress president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal costs the state exchequer about Rs 1 lakh per month.
A rough calculation shows she travels about 750 km a day 24x7, crisscrossing Punjab from one end to the other at least thrice a day. She has two more police security vehicles at her disposal.
However, security Gypsies provided to some of the protectees with no limit on petrol, oil and lubricants (POL) require only Rs 5,000 to 6,000 per month.
Punjab Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon burns fuel worth about Rs 55,000 every month on his Gypsy, while the expenditure on the security vehicle of state BJP chief Rajinder Bhandari is around Rs 40,000 per month.
There are many more VVIPs and VIPs who seem to have been bitten by the travel bug.
An estimated 12 per cent of the 200 people protected by the Punjab Police consume over 60 per cent of the fuel being provided by its security wing.
Punjab DGP NPS Aulakh confirmed that the expenditure made by some politicians and officers on their security vehicles were phenomenally high. "We have decided to take up the matter with the government and the VIPs."
Sources said these figures came to light after the state police carried out an exercise to calculate the monthly expenditure on security vehicles provided to VVIPs, VIPs and officers.
The list of protectees enjoying POL with no limit is long. The bulletproof security car provided to the family of former chief minister Beant Singh costs the exchequer about Rs 55,000 per month. Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti isn't far behind. Sometimes he burns petrol worth Rs 65,000 a month on one security Gypsy.
Tourism Minister Ambika Soni's security Gypsy costs Rs 25,000 per month. The security vehicle of MP and Shiromani Akali Dal secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa requires POL worth over Rs 55,000 per month.
All-India Anti-Terrorist Front chairman MS Bitta spent about Rs 1.75 lakh for POLs for six security vehicles last November.
"The Punjab government has been showing unprecedented generosity in allowing unlimited POL to these privileged few and their families, even when there is no appropriate justification for higher allocation," said a former Punjab DGP.