Gairsain assembly sessions in Uttarakhand a Rs 1-crore affair: RTI reply

The expenditure on the first assembly session at Gairsain, conducted by the previous Congress during June 9-11 in 2014, was Rs 57 lakh, said the RTI reply.

dehradun Updated: Jul 17, 2018 21:32 IST
Abhinav Madhwal
Abhinav Madhwal
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand,Gairsain,Assembly session
The BJP government in Uttarakhand spent Rs 1.02 crore on the budget session of the assembly held at Gairsain in March this year.(HT File Photo)

The Uttarakhand BJP government spent Rs 1.02 crore on the budget session of the assembly held at Gairsain in Chamoli district between March 20 and 28 this year, a reply to an RTI query has revealed.

The expenditure on the first assembly session at Gairsain, conducted by the previous Congress during June 9-11 in 2014, was Rs 57 lakh, said the reply.

In an application filed under the Right to Information Act in May, Haldwani-based activist Hemant Gauniya had sought details of the expenditure incurred on the assembly sessions held in Gairsain by the Congress government between 2014 and 2016, and the March budget session conducted by the present BJP government.

The previous Congress government, headed by Harish Rawat, had spent close to Rs 1 crore on the Garsain assembly session held in December 2016. The Trivendra Singh Rawat government spent Rs 1.02 crore on the last budget session, the RTI reply said.

“This was a waste of public money, as the expenditure could have been saved by holding the sessions in Dehradun, which has the state assembly,” Gauniya said.

Statehood activists have been demanding that Gairsain be declared as the permanent capital of Uttarakhand. Though assembly sessions are being held at Gairsain, both Congress and BJP governments have dithered on accepting the demand.

“The break-up of the expenditures had been given and any discrepancy could be checked,” said government spokesperson Madan Kaushik. “It is all in the public domain now and the expenses are accounted for.”

In the reply, the government has said departments make arrangements for Vidhan Sabha sessions, and the sate secretariat does not make separate expenditures. The reply to the expenditure under various heads was given by senior research and reference officer Mukesh Singhal.

In the 2014 session, major expenditure was accounted for transportation, pitching of tents, toilets, and supply of hot and cold water. The expenses on the hall and food came to Rs 28.36 lakh.

In December 2016, a sum of Rs 18.10 lakh was spent on the podium, Rs 10.12 lakh for communication facilities, Rs 39.3 lakh for temporary residences and Rs 30 lakh on food.

In the last budge session, Rs 19.29 lakh was spent for setting up the podium, Rs 10.25 lakh for communications, Rs 50 lakh was given to the Chamoli district Magistrate for works and Rs 20.85 lakh on food for MLAs and other attendees.

Uttarakhand has a 71-member assembly. The construction of the Vidhan Sabha complex at Gairsain, which includes the main assembly building along with residential quarters for MLAs, had begun under former CM Harish Rawat.

First Published: Jul 17, 2018 21:31 IST