Sikkim govt to auction more than 50 luxury cars as part of austerity drive
The Sikkim government led by PS Golay has decided to auction all luxury cars purchased by the former Pawan Chamling government as part of its austerity drive.
“More than 50 luxury cars including Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, Toyota Fortuner and Jeep Compass will be auctioned within a month,” Jacob Khaling, political secretary to the chief minister said. Khaling is also the spokesperson of the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM).
During the election campaign, Golay had announced that the luxury cars purchased for the ministers and MLAs by the erstwhile government would be converted into ambulances.
“According to experts, medical equipment could not be fitted in some of the cars. Therefore, we have decided to put them up for auction,” Khaling said.
Immediately after taking oath as chief minister, Golay had said that his government would focus on austerity measures and no minister and legislator would travel in luxury cars. Before he held his first cabinet meeting, the chief minister also announced that ministers and MLAs would travel in SUVs like Scorpios.
According to sources, some of the cars that would be put up for auction are about two to three years old.
Khaling said that through different austerity measures the government is aiming to save at least 10 per cent of the state’s annual budget of Rs 7,000 crore.
Another austerity measure adopted is holding all government meetings in state-owned properties. “Earlier meetings with corporate houses and delegates from Delhi used to be held in luxury hotels. Now all meetings are being held in government properties,” said the SKM spokesperson.
He also said the government has relocated some of its offices in buildings constructed by the government, saving on the rent that was being spent by functioning from the premises of privately owned properties.
The chief minister has also directed that all ministers and legislators get treated at state-run hospitals. “Unless they are first treated in government healthcare centres, they can’t be referred to private health facilities,” said Golay’s political secretary.
The chief minister is also not staying at the official residence that Pawan Chamling occupied.
“The residence Mintogang is like a palace and I will not use it as my official residence. It will be converted into a cancer hospital,” Golay had said during the election campaign.
“It has been vacated. A committee is working on how it can be converted into a cancer hospital,” said Khaling.
The chief minister stays in his own house.
Avinash Yakkha, the spokesperson of the Sikkim Democratic Front and D B Chauhan, the BJP state committee president, could not be contacted despite several attempts.
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