Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has cut down on the use of official helicopter, reducing the expenditure on it by nearly 40 per cent during the 18-month period from March 2012 to September 2013, an RTI reply has revealed.
The state's Civil Aviation Department (CAD) in reply to an RTI query said the chief minister had spent Rs. 4.35 crore on travelling by the state chopper during the period between March 15, 2012 and September 15, 2013.
The expenditure was about 40 per cent less compared to Rs. 7.45 crore in the corresponding period between March 2009 and September 2010, the reply to RTI filed by Balvinder Singh, Convener Sangarsh RTI Movement, said.
The reply also revealed that Omar stopped claiming TA/DA from March 2012 after Singh filed his first RTI application in 2011, which had showed the Chief Minister taking Rs. 1.63 lakh under the category.
It said the amount spent on purchase of fuel for travel of the chief minister by civil aviation department during the period between March, 2012 and September, 2013 was Rs. 67.81 lakh.
The CAD figures also suggested that the amount spent on salaries of the pilots had come down to Rs. 1.53 crore from Rs. 2.20 crore, while the amount spent on repair and maintenance had also decreased to Rs. 96 lakh from Rs. 3.84 crore during the last corresponding period.
Omar, while addressing the inaugural session of an annual convention of Central Information Commission on September 2, had spoken about the positive role of RTI in disciplining public figures.
He had cited his own example of curbing expenses on his tours, travels and renovation or furnishing of government accommodations because of anticipation of RTI petition on such expenses.
The chief minister has said he is in favour of brining political parties under the purview of the RTI Act.