VVIPs squandering taxpayers' money is highly unacceptable

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Shiela Dikshit.
It is a common understanding amongst masses that politicians never practice what they preach. The latest RTI revelation that former Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit had installed 31 air conditioners in her official residence shows how those sitting at the helm of it misuse their powers and needlessly waste tax payers' money for their vested interests.

An official response to an RTI activist Subhash Agrawal's query said that Dikshit's residence on 3,Motilal Nehru Marg, which has now been allotted to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had at least 31 air conditioners, 15 desert coolers, 25 heaters, 16 air purifiers and 12 geysers among other things.

Rs 16.81 lakh were spent on electrical renovation of Shiela’s bungalow in 2004

Ironically, when every inch of the former Chief Minister's four bedroom bungalow was insulated from the external weather influence, Dikshit was seen urging Delhiites to practice austerity-drive as the capital was reeling under acute power crisis.

Last year, Dikshit also advised Delhiites to consume less power if they felt their bills were too high. She even advised people to use one bulb instead of two or restrict themselves to fans if they find coolers inflating their bills and also cut down on their television hours.

An expense of a whopping Rs 16.81 lakh was incurred on the electrical renovation of the bungalow in 2004 to customise it according to the needs of then Chief Minister, CPWD said.

"Consumption of electricity and expenses on such a large fleet of electrical equipment can be well imagined that too at a time when 'austerity drive' was there in existence with shortage of electricity for commoners having been a common phenomenon," said Subhash Agrawal.

The activist has further alleged that many highly-placed people in various commissions etc. including those at the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) get a huge amount of money spent on installing costly equipment where the permissible expense limit by the CPWD is found not to be enough.

Giving the list of appliances and fixtures removed from Sheila Dikshit's residence after she moved to Kerala Raj Bhavan as Governor, CPWD has said all such equipments were being partially utilised in various government offices as per requirement.

This has not happened for the first time when politicians are seen giving a damn on pompous living on public money. The MPs and MLAs are given free electricity supply, telephone connections, vehicles, drivers, free quota of fuel for regular travel to attend Parliamentary sessions, etc. All these expenses are borne by common man.

Not to forget the issue of security cover accorded to the politicians at public expenses. Even tainted leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav, convicted under fodder scam, have been bestowed with Z category security. There is a long list of loyalists, who can easily hire private security guards, of previous UPA regime enjoying high security cover at public money.

This entire development reflects that gone are the days when people joined politics for serving the nation.

One just hopes that the new Government takes this matter seriously and sets an example by sensibly utilising a common man's hard earned money that pays for all sorts of their needs and desires. The incumbent Government must review the security covers of politicians and withdraw such facilities accorded to non-deserving candidates.

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