Thiruvananthapuram: Finance Minister K N Balagopal on Monday stood by the government's decision to approve an order proposing the purchase of a luxury car worth Rs 35 lakh for Khadi Board vice-chairman P Jayarajan.
"Though the state is going through a financial crisis, essential matters cannot be ignored," said the minister. He also said the purchase of the luxury car comes at a time when cuts are being made to financial expenses.
Jayarajan's new vehicle was allotted Rs 2 lakh more than the Chief Minister's to purchase a 'high-security' car. This is the sixth car this government is purchasing after expenditure cuts were announced.
According to the Government Order (GO), Rs 35 lakh was allotted taking into account the health issues faced by Jayarajan and recognising the need for a vehicle with high-security features for his use. Moreover, the vehicle presently used by the CPM leader undergoes regular repairs due to it age, adds the GO.
The decision to purchase a new car for the vice-chairman was taken by the director board of the Khadi Board headed by the chairman, who is Industries Minister P Rajeeve. The amount will come from the Khadi Board.
It was a few months ago that the Chief Minister bought a new car worth Rs 33 lakh.
On November 4, the chief secretary issued an order announcing expenditure cuts. After that, besides Jayarajan, ministers Roshy Augustine, V N Vasavan, G R Anil, V Abdurahiman and Chief Whip N Jayaraj were approved amounts to purchase new cars.
The order did not mention the brand of the 'high-security' car that will be purchased for Jayarajan.