Bhubaneswar, Aug 28
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s chopper rides inside the state on official tours over the last two years has cost the state exchequer the small matter of a little over Rs six crore.
Parliamentary Affairs minister Kalpataru Das said that the Government had to pay Rs 6, 02, 56,360 towards the fare of the helicopter used by the Chief Minister in undertaking his official tours inside the state. Das made the statement during Question Hour on Tuesday in the state Assembly while replying to a question on the travel expenditure by the members of Council of Ministers, including former ministers during the last two years.
However, the expenditure incurred by the government towards the air journey undertaken by the Chief Minister outside the state and country was much less at Rs 10.36 lakh. During the period, the Chief Minister had undertaken foreign journey only once, while he went on official tour outside the state 17 times, he said.
As per the tour statement, as many as 32 ministers, including nine former ministers, had undertaken their tours during the period and the highest expenditure to the tune of Rs 5,21,685 was incurred by Women and Child Development minister Usha Devi. She had undertaken one foreign tour and seven outside the state by air and twice travelled by copter inside the state.
During his brief one-year stint, former minister Pradeep Maharathy had only incurred Rs 20,456 in conducting official tour. He had toured outside the state just once.
Former minister Sanjeev Sahoo had incurred the second highest expenditure towards air and copter travel costing the state exchequer Rs 4,07,722. Sahoo had undertaken 12 tours outside the state and one inside the state.
Revenue minister Surya Narayan Patro incurred travel expenditure to the tune of Rs 3,72,599 by going on 12 tours outside the state and one inside the state. He is followed by Tourism minister Maheswar Mohanty, who incurred Rs 3,60,607 undertaking 10 tours outside the state and four inside the state, minister Das said.