Wednesday April 1, 2020
Home India RTI on MP CM&...

RTI on MP CM’s foreign trip: Rs 1.39 crore spent, child specialist as personal physician

0
//

New Delhi: A nine-member delegation led by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan spent Rs 1.39 crore (nearly $210,000) on a nine-day trip to Japan and South Korea between September 29 and October 7, which also included giving gifts to investors and political leaders, the reply to an RTI (Right to Information) query has revealed.

Interestingly, the documents also reveal that the chief minister’s office had requested the principal secretaries of the commerce as well as health and family welfare departments that R K Ray, a child specialist at Jai Prakash Chikitsalaya here, be given permission to travel as the chief minister’s personal physician.

The reply, received from the Madhya Pradesh Trade and Investment Facilitation Corporation Limited (TRIFAC) by activist Ajay Dubey in November, stated that gift items of Mrignayani MP Emporium and MP Laghu Udyog Nigam Limited, both owned by the state government, were carried for distribution to political leaders/VIPs/investors/ delegates during an interactive session in Tokyo chaired by the chief minister. These gifts had no commercial value, according to a document accessed through the RTI reply.

The RTI reply revealed that Rs 18.50 lakh was spent on airfare for the trip, Rs 35 lakh on hotel charges (Rs 23 lakh in Japan and Rs 12 lakh in South Korea), Rs 20 lakh on local transportation (Rs 12 lakh in Japan and Rs 8 lakh in South Korea) and Rs 5.50 lakh on daily allowance (Rs 3.50 lakh in Japan and Rs 2 lakh in South Korea).

One of the documents showed that Rs 10,13,740 was approved for the interpreter.

The venues of meetings and sessions with investors, industry and companies cost Rs 40 lakh – including the cost of the interpreter – with Rs 25 lakh spent in Japan and Rs 15 lakh in South Korea. This apart, Rs 20 lakh was spent on promotional material and goods (Rs 12.50 lakh in Japan and Rs 7.50 lakh in South Korea).

During the trip, Rs 76 lakh was spent in Japan and Rs 44.50 lakh in South Korea (not counting the airfare).

“At a time when the farmers are committing suicide in the state due to drought, the CM is making foreign trips. Moreover, when it comes to investment, Madhya Pradesh doesn’t come in the priority list of Japan and South Korea among the other states in India,” Dubey said.

Among the others who travelled with the chief minister were Yashodhara Raje Scindia, the minister for commerce, industry and employment; Mohammed Suleman, principal secretary in Scindia’s ministry; S K Mishra, the minister’s principal secretary; Hari Rajan Rao, the minister’s secretary; D P Ahuja, the TRIFAC managing director; Kumar Purushottam, managing director of the Madhya Pradesh Audyogik Kendra Vikas Nigam Limited; a state representative of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and a representative of Ernst & Young, Bhopal.

This is the second time this year that Chouhan’s foreign trip has raised eyebrows.

In August, the reply to an RTI plea by Dubey revealed that an eight-member delegation led by Chouhan spent close to Rs 3 crore ($465,000/$58,000 per head) on a five-day US trip in February, which included giving expensive gifts to investors,

Madhya Pradesh has been mired in the Vyapam scam for years, but the irregularities eventually came to light when 20 people were arrested in 2013 for impersonating candidates appearing for the 2009 medical entrance examination.

Forty-eight people associated with the Vyapam scam have died – mostly under mysterious circumstances. Following the chain of deaths, the Supreme Court in July directed the CBI to investigate not just the Vyapam scam but also the deaths related to it.

The most recent death was of an Indian Forest Service officer, Vijay Bahadur Singh, whose body was found close to a railway track near Odisha’s Belpahad station on October 15. He was travelling by the Puri-Jodhpur Express. The CBI has started probing this death as well.

(IANS)

Next Story

Farmers in MP Come Up with Ingenious Solutions for Rainwater Harvesting to Address Water Scarcity

Rai said the village was infamous for facing water scarcity

0
Farmers, MP, Rainwater Harvesting
To do this, he used waste material to channel the water to borewells and dry wells using a pipeline network. Pixabay

In a country that suffers from water scarcity all year, farmers in the villages of Narsinghpur district in Madhya Pradesh have come up with ingenious solutions for rainwater harvesting to address the issue.

While water shortage has been the bane of Salichauka village for long, a local farmer, Manoj Rai, has devised a solution not only to tackle the issue but also to find a way to manage excess rain water and use it to recharge water sources. To do this, he used waste material to channel the water to borewells and dry wells using a pipeline network.

Rai said the village was infamous for facing water scarcity. Such is his understanding of the gravity of the problem that he expounded that the 3rd World War would be fought over water and that several cities like Cape Town and Shimla are already on the verge of a Day-Zero situation.

He added that everyone can come up with their own technique for water harvesting without spending extra money and if every farmer did his bit towards redirecting excess water to recharge the groundwater, the future generations too will have water.

Farmers, MP, Rainwater Harvesting
In a country that suffers from water scarcity all year, farmers in the villages of Narsinghpur district in Madhya Pradesh have come up with ingenious solutions. Pixabay

After Rai’s solution came to the limelight, other farmers also started adopting it and the water level has reportedly risen, the villagers claim. They believe this will help them during the summers too.

A resident of the village Kaluram Patel said he adopted the technique after he saw several other villagers using it.

He said they have witnessed a rise in water level and the tube wells now have water which would help him grow multiple crops in a year.

Similarly, in the rocky terrains of Bilguwa village, it was becoming increasingly difficult for the farmers to procure water for their crops when Monu Pathak, a local farmer, devised a solution to conserve water.

Also Read- Amazon Expands Its Line-Up at Ongoing IFA with Over 20 New Fire TV-Branded Devices

Pathak said he constructed a model to recharge the groundwater level. He pointed out that it is extremely important to look for methods to save water when half of the country is facing water shortage and the rest facing floods. He also urged the residents of the village to employ such methods in their houses or farms.

Sushil Kumar, a resident of Bilguwa, said the technique employed by Pathak is easy to operate.

He said if every farmer were to utilise rainwater harvesting techniques, the water level would witness a significant rise and would solve the water crisis in the village.

Agricultural scientists claimed that the crops in the region were getting affected by the declining groundwater level and commended the efforts by the farmers to address the water crisis.

Farmers, MP, Rainwater Harvesting
While water shortage has been the bane of Salichauka village for long, a local farmer, Manoj Rai, has devised a solution not only to tackle the issue but also to find a way to manage excess rain water and use it. Pixabay

Rajesh Tripathi, Deputy Director at the district agriculture department, pointed out the irregular pattern of rains that the region has witnessed.

He said that if water is being continuously pumped using tube wells or sprinkler pump, the water sources are going to keep depleting.

If we can find a way for the rainwater to replenish the water table directly, farmers would benefit from it, he said.

Also Read- Walmart To Stop Some Ammunition Sales

While commending the efforts taken by the farmers of Bilguwa and Salichauka, he added that efforts are being taken to educate the farmers about the importance of adopting such techniques to recharge any water source in their vicinity. (IANS)