Rajasthan passed Bill: Ex-ministers to pay Rs 10,000 for occupying govt bungalows
Jaipur, Aug 02: Rajasthan Assembly on Friday passed a Bill to make ex-ministers shell out Rs 10,000 a day if they continue to occupy government bungalows beyond two months after the end of their terms.
The Rajasthan Ministers' Salaries (Amendment) Bill, 2019, introduced by the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government on July 22 was passed by a voice vote, amid opposition from the BJP. Ex-ministers now pay Rs 5,000 a month after the two-month period. When the Bill becomes law, they will pay Rs 3 lakh if they overstay beyond this.
The Bill also includes provisions for forcible vacation of government accommodation. Parliamentary Affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal said the Bill was brought to ensure that new ministers get official residences in time. "It is seen that ex-ministers do not vacate the official residences allotted to them even after the prescribed period is over.
This causes difficulty in the allotment of suitable residences to the newly appointed ministers," a statement on the objectives of the Bill said. The Congress came to power in the state last December, replacing the Vasundhara Raje-led Bharatiya Janata Party.
During the debate, Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria said former ministers should vacate their official residences but the government should reconsider the time being allowed to do so. He said the penalty of Rs 10,000 per day was too high.
Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore claimed there was a hidden agenda, indirectly suggesting that government bungalows were being used to stop MLAs from straying away from the Congress. He said the Congress was offering a kind of assurance to some legislators that government accommodation would be available if they are made ministers.
BJP MLAs and former ministers Kiran Maheshwari and Vasudev Devnan opposed the penalty of Rs 10,000 per day. They said vacating a house within two months is usually is not practical. At present former ministers pay up to Rs 5,000 a month as "damages" if they continue to occupy the accommodation allotted to them when they were in office. "This amount is meagre," the government statement said.