Row over tea: expense includes snacks and gifts for guests, says Maharashtra CM’s office
CMO has justified the rise in expenditure on these items stating that there has been a steady rise in the daily number of visitors to the CM.mumbai Updated: Mar 29, 2018 23:13 IST
A day after the president of Mumbai’s Congress unit, Sanjay Nirupam, alleged a tea scam in the state government, pointing to a 577 per cent increase in the money spent on tea at the Chief Minister’s office (CMO) from 2015-16 to 2017-18, the CMO refuted the allegations as entirely false.
In a statement made on Thursday, the CMO clarified that Rs3.4 crore “was not spent on serving only tea to the Chief Minister, as claimed by Nirupam”. The cost includes money spent on tea, snacks, and lunch spent during cabinet and administrative meetings on guests of the CMO, including national and international business delegations and representatives of other governments.
The cost also includes bouquets, and items gifted by the CMO at various official programmes and felicitations.
“Rs 3.4 crore is spent not only at the state government headquarters, but also includes money spent at the Chief Minister’s residence Varsha Niwas, Sahyadri Government guest house, Ramgiri Niwas, at Nagpur. Therefore, the conclusion that there has been a 557 per cent increase in money spent on tea is wrong,” read the statement.
Earlier, during departmental review meetings, that specific department would sponsor the snacks and tea, but now this is done through the CMO, an official pointed out. The official added that earlier meetings with foreign guests and business delegates would often be held in starred hotels, but are now being held in Sahyadri guest house.
CMO has justified the rise in expenditure on these items stating that there has been a steady rise in the daily number of visitors to the CM.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday said, “I was chief minister four times, but I never spent that kind of money on tea. It is important to use finances in the state diligently.”