The Kerala government has granted permission to renovate Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s residence, the Cliff House. As per reports, Rs.98 lakh have been earmarked for the project. The amount was finalized based on the estimate prepared by the Uralungal Society. The project includes the renovation of restrooms of drivers, gunmen, security guards, and attendants.
No tenders were invited
Normally, Public Works Department (PWD) invites tender for such projects. However, in this case, the renovation project was granted to the society without inviting tenders. When a new government comes to power, ministers often recommend making particular renovations at their residences. Based on their recommendations, PWD invites tenders after preparing the estimates. The excuse of not inviting the tenders often revolves around the urgency of such renovation or construction projects. In such cases, PWD approach accredited contractors.
Vijayan’s previous government also spent public money on renovations
In 2018, an RTI had revealed that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s previous government had spent Rs. 82.35 lakh on renovations of ministers’ residences. At that time, maximum money (Rs. 13,18,937) was spent on the renovation of the Xanadu bungalow where Industries and Sports Minister E P Jayarajan was staying. On CM’s residence Rs.9,56,871 were spent.
Previous governments’ track record was no less
During Oommen Chandy’s tenure, the Kerala government had spent Rs.4.3 crore on renovations. Before that, during the tenure of the V S Achuthanandan government, a controversy had erupted over the tax money spent on the renovation of the ministerial residences. At that time, then-ministers C Divakaran and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had spent Rs.17 lakh and Rs.11 lakh respectively on the renovation work. They had to stop the renovation due to the controversy.
Kerala CM had urged Union Government to provide the free vaccine.
It has to be noted that Chief Minister Pinarayi has been demanding money from the Centre to provide free vaccines to the residents of Kerala. Though he had promised free vaccines in December, in April, he went back on his promise of making Chinese coronavirus vaccines free in his state. He appealed to the central government to instead foot the bill and make vaccines for those eligible from May 1, 2021, free in his state.