Even as Maharashtra is reeling under a financial crisis, 15 ministers in the state have spent around Rs 2 crore only on renovating their offices. Among these, the highest amount was spent by minister of state for Housing Ravindra Waikar (Rs 33.99 lakh) and public works department (PWD) minister Chandrakant Patil (Rs 31.88 lakh), respectively, reveals a right to information (RTI) reply given to activist Anil Galgali by the general administration department (GAD).
The 15 ministers include nine cabinet and six ministers of state. The third and fourth highest amount of Rs 20.48 lakh and Rs 20.24 lakh was spent by minister, tribal welfare, Vishnu Sawra and minister for education (schools) Vinod Tawde, respectively.
Following this, MoS, home, Dr Ranjit Patil and minister for housing Prakash Mehta have spent Rs 15.53 lakh and Rs 14.27 lakh respectively, while irrigation minister Girish Mahajan has undertaken renovation work in his office worth Rs 13.43lakh.
Besides, the other ministers who have spent between Rs 2-Rs 10 lakh to give their workplaces a facelift include MoS for women and children welfare Vidya Thakur (Rs 9.98lakh), MoS revenue Sanjay Rathod (Rs 9.96 lakh), PWD minister Eknath Shinde (Rs 9.92 lakh), social welfare minister Rajkumar Badole (Rs 4.83 lakh), MOS social welfare Dilip Kamble (Rs 4.67 lakh), food and civil supplies minister Girish Bapat (Rs 4.46 lakh), MoS finance Deepak Kesarkar (Rs 4 lakh) and power minister Chandra Shekhar Bawankule (Rs 2.19 lakh).
“On the one hand the state government is claiming that their coffers are empty and on the other they are generously spending to renovate their offices,” Anil Gagali said.
When contacted, Chandrakant Patil said, “The renovation work has been undertaken by my department but I have still not gone into the details of the expenses. Now, I will look at whether these expenses were for one office or for my other offices as well. Similarly, I will check if these are expenses incurred recently or pending for many years?” Calls and messages to Vinod Tawde and Ravindra Waikar were unanswered.