HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh may be in the midst of a major financial crisis, but this has not stopped chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu from spending a steep Rs 100 crore of the public exchequer money on himself. This includes refurbishing various offices and hiring aircraft and helicopters for his national and international travels.
Till date, Naidu has constructed four offices for the chief minister and camp offices in Hyderabad and Vijayawada. Presently coming up at a cost of Rs 21.3 crore is the new camp office in Vijayawada. While Rs 6.3 crore has been released for converting the irrigation circle office as the camp office, Rs 15 crore is being spent for the security set-up. Separate GOs have been issued for these expenditures.
Earlier, Naidu spent Rs 45 crore of public money on refurbishing the Lake View Guest House as well as two blocks in the AP Secretariat in Hyderabad. Immediately after his victory in the 2014 general elections, he ordered renovation of South H block as his new office and the state government spent more than Rs 15 crore on sprucing up the building. However, citing bad vaastu, Naidu later opted for an office in L block. Complete renovation of the 7th and 8th floors of the building was ordered, which took three months and cost about Rs 20 crore. Apart from that, at an additional cost of Rs 5 crore, new lifts were installed, new entrances were put in place and elaborate security arrangements made.
To give a facelift to the Lake View Guest House on the Raj Bhavan Road, the state government spent about Rs 7 crore. However, the building is now used being used only once a week by Naidu. As part of the renovation, age old boulders on the guest house premises were removed and all rooms refurbished to ensure that chief minister has the finest camp office.
But the expenditure does not stop there. Naidu has moved into a new rented accommodation in Jubilee Hills and there is a proposal for another camp office there at his temporary residence for which the state wants to pay Rs two lakh a month as rent. This does not include the residential quarters as that is treated under a separate head.
Interestingly, Naidu’s extravagance did not stop with changing offices, but extended to hiring chartered planes and choppers. Ever since he took over as chief minister, he has made sure that majority of his tours, domestic and foreign, are managed by private chartered companies. The Navayuga group that operates two ports across the east coast is one regular supplier of chartered planes to the AP CM. Airone is another private company that has extended its services to Naidu’s frequent tours that included a chartered flight to Singapore along with some corporates.
“The government has paid Rs 15 crore (GO No. 30) to these private flight operators up to February. Another Rs 7 crore has to be paid for the month of February and March. The bill for the month of April has not yet been received,” said sources in the government.
The CM visited Singapore twice as well as Japan, China and Davos once during the last ten months and is all set to visit the USA soon. Further, in the name of equal justice to all districts, Naidu came out with an innovative concept of holding programmes in different districts including the collectors’ conference in Vijayawada, Independence Day celebrations in Kurnool and investors’ meet in Visakhapatnam. However, according to officials, this has increased the state expenditure as hundreds of officers are forced to travel and stay in hotels in these places to attend Naidu’s meetings. “Instead of going about his work by displaying austerity, the AP CM is doing the exact opposite and bleeding the state’s coffers,” lamented a senior official who did not want to be named.