FOLLOWING A controversy over the proposal to spend Rs 26 crore to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the construction of Vidhana Soudha, the seat of power in Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Tuesday asked presiding officers of the state legislature to keep the costs at Rs 10 crore.
Presiding officers of the legislative assembly and legislative council had made the proposal to spend Rs 26 crore for the event to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Vidhana Soudha’s establishment. But it ran into trouble after the state finance department, headed by Siddaramaiah, raised questions over the extravagant expenses.
One of the most controversial aspects of the proposal was a plan to give the state’s 300 legislators gifts in the form of gold coins or biscuits, and silver plates to the staff. The total cost for these gifts were estimated at Rs 3 crore.
On Tuesday, following a meeting with presiding officer of Assembly, Speaker K B Koliwad (from the Congress), and legislative Council chairman D H Shankaramurthy (BJP), the Chief Minister is said to have suggested doing away with the plan for exorbitant expenditure, including the expensive gifts for legislators and House staff.
According to the Chief Minister’s Office, Siddaramaiah said that it would not be possible to release Rs 26 crore for the occasion. He also directed that the event should be held on October 25 instead of spanning over two days, as proposed by the Speaker and the Council chairman.
President Ram Nath Kovind has been invited to address a special joint session of the legislature on October 25, which will discuss, among other topics, the formation of the state.
As per plans, families of the first three chief ministers of Karnataka — K C Reddy, Kengal Hanumanthaiah and Kadidal Manjappa — will be honored as part of the event. Two special documentaries on the Vidhana Soudha, made by eminent filmmakers Girish Kasaravalli and T N Seetharam and commissioned by presiding officers of the legislature, will also be screened.