Row over relief fund being used for Kerala CM’s chopper journeyindia Updated: Jan 09, 2018 23:48 IST
Pinarayi Vijayan purportedly hired the chopper to fly from Thrissur , where he was attending a party district committee meet, to Thiruvananthapuram. (PTI File Photo)
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan landed in a controversy on Tuesday after it came to light that his administration paid Rs 8 lakh from the state’s disaster management fund for a helicopter ride he took on December 26.
A Malayalam news channel, on Tuesday, leaked a letter purportedly written by the state’s additional chief secretary PH Kurian authorising the payment.
The incident took place when the administration was facing paucity of funds for the victims of cyclone Ockhi which claimed at least 80 lives in the state. More than 100 fishermen are still missing.
When the issue snowballed, the CM’s office said it was not aware that the money was diverted from the relief fund and cancelled the order of the additional chief secretary.
“This order was issued without the knowledge of the CM’s office. Following the CM’s directive It stands withdrawn immediately,” said a communique from the CM’s office.
However Opposition Congress and the BJP have sought a personal explanation from the CM in the matter.
Vijayan purportedly hired the chopper to fly from Thrissur , where he was attending a party district committee meet, to Thiruvananthapuram.
After two meetings in the state capital — including a meeting with the central team that came to study the damage caused by cyclone. He returned to Thrissur in the same chopper.
The letter also cites that though the aviation company which owned the chopper sought Rs 13 lakh for the trip, the amount was eventually reduced to Rs 8 lakh after negotiations.
“The government has examined the matter in detail and pleased to accord the sanction and release the amount from the head of account,” said the letter written on the disaster management department’s letter pad.
Usually, the state public administration department allocates funds for the travel of the CM and his colleagues.
“It is a shame it happened at a time when the state is finding difficult to disburse relief for cyclone victims. Sad, a leader of the proletarian part is leading such an example,” said state opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.