The chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana may not see eye to eye on practically any issue but are united in their love for multi-crore mean machines, as long as they are super-luxury, Vaastu-ready and paid for by taxpayers.
Chandrababu Naidu and Chandrasekhar Rao have both ordered the same set of wheels: top of the line buses, priced Rs 5 crore each, that are landmine-proof and can survive blasts, gunshots and extreme temperatures. Apart from having state-of-the-art security features, the vehicles with Mercedes Benz chassis customised by vanity bus building company JCBL in Chandigarh are TV and internet-enabled, have cameras to cover all directions and boast of tyres that can last up to 80km even if severely damaged.
“The Andhra CM’s bus is equipped with features such as a sofa-bed, satellite phone, foldable platform and conference room. It also has a lift (for Naidu to address gatherings from the bus top),” JCBL managing director Rishi Aggarwal said.
Rao’s bus was added to his fleet after a prayer ceremony last week while Naidu’s is getting the final touches in Chandigarh and appears set to be delivered in a week. Their decisions to acquire the same set of wheels were independent of each other, officials said, though both placed orders around the same time in January.
KCR's bus, which was added to his fleet last week. (HT file photo)
“Naidu travels a lot in the districts. The bus is intended to provide him the facility of conferencing with officials on the go while he can also stay put anywhere for the night,” a senior official in the Andhra chief minister’s office said.
Both leaders’ love for Vaastu is well documented. While Naidu has refurbished the CM’s block in the secretariat and the lake view camp office with about Rs 30 crore to stay in tune with Vaastu, Rao has planned a new secretariat complex in Hyderabad as the present one, according to him, is “not Vaastu compliant and might bring bad luck to the new state”.
Chandrababu Naidu's bus is getting final touches in Mohali's JCBL plant. (HT photo)
It remains to be seen whether the interiors of the new buses are arranged in sync with Vaastu, but what is certain is that both CMs are set to face a barrage of criticism for splurging from the exchequer amid serious issues blighting their states.