A ‘legend’ has it that the Winter Session of Maharashtra Legislature, held every year in Nagpur, is considered by the politicians, Government officials as an opportunity to picnic, short jaunts and merry-making by various other means. The Saturdays and Sundays in between the Winter Session witnessed a horde of picnics and tours at nearby tourist spots. Government vehicles and cars are used for these relishing moments. But not any more! As the new BJP government has taken charge, the party high command is in for some image building exercise as the newly formed cabinet is all set to descend the second capital for the state assembly’s winter session.
Sources said till now the leaders of almost all political parties, government officials visiting the citu to attend the session often unwinded towards the falling weekends. But all these gala picnics, bashes, partying, merry tours are going to stop.
A State government diktat has summarily banned picnics and merry tours of politicians, use of government vehicles and cars other than the official business. Now, the focus would be on implementation of this newly passed fatwa in letter and spirit.
The General Administration Department of State Government has issued the intimation on November 23. The new diktat has put shadows on jaunts by top officials of different departments and ministers as well. The vehicles and cars of Ministers, officials of Legislature Secretariat, journalists covering the Session now would not be allowed to take outside city limits during the Winter Session except on official business. In the circumstances, the reason for venturing outside city limits would have to be given to the Divisional Commissioner. Without the permission of the Divisional Commissioner, no Government vehicle/car will be allowed to cross the city limits. The step has been taken by the Government after taking note of criticism by media and complaints of social organizations regarding the marrying and partying.
The Fatwa says that if the Government vehicles and cars are utilized for private works then the users will have to pay Rs 8 per kilometer and the amount will have to be paid to the office of Divisional Commissioner.
The diktat is likely to curb misuse of Government vehicles and cars by politicians and officials for picnics, jaunts and other cherishing moments during Winter Session.
But make no mistake. The diehard politicians and officials would find ways and means to venture out for the ‘pleasure’ at Government expense. Be sure about it.