Punjab Mandi Board pays for its chief's king-size life

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Old 25-Jun-2015
Ginni Singh
Punjab Mandi Board pays for its chief's king-size life

Punjab Mandi Board Chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal is living life no less than king size. The farm leader has cost the Board more than Rs 2 crore in seven years. To provide him security cover that comprises four gunmen, the state police paid Rs 1.15 crore alone as salary to gunmen.

Information obtained from the Board under the Right to Information Act reveals that Lakhowal has been given a Cabinet rank by the Punjab Government.

According to a letter issued by the state finance department on June 3, 2010, chairmen of the boards are not entitled to get a car worth more than Rs 7 lakh and petrol limit per month should not exceed 290 litres. But, Lakhowal’s Cabinet rank makes him immune to these clauses. Seven cars have been purchased for him and his escort in the past seven years for Rs 78.12 lakh.

Lakhowal said: “All facilities extended to me are as per the Cabinet rank I have been accorded by the Punjab Government. All cars given to me are as per the existing norms and no extra favour has been extended to me.” Justifying the gunmen attached with him, he said: “At times there are disputes in mandis and gunmen are needed for security.” Lakhowal was given Toyota Camry worth Rs 20.06 lakh in September 2007 and by the time it was replaced with the model’s updated version worth Rs 23.39 lakh in March 2013, it had clocked 6 lakh km, 308 km a day on an average. The new car had travelled 1.80 lakh km till February this year.

The first car purchased for Lakhowal was worth Rs 4.53 lakh. This was followed by a Toyota Qualis for escort at a cost of Rs 4.04 lakh and a Toyota Innova worth Rs 7.45 lakh on September 17, 2007. One more Toyota Innova was provided as escort vehicle to Lakhowal on December 31, 2009, at a cost of Rs 9.28 lakh. The last escort vehicle was worth Rs 9.37 lakh.

In the initial four years of his tenure, cars provided to Lakhowal guzzled fuel worth Rs 50 lakh and the estimated fuel and repair expenses of the cars are to the tune of Rs 11 lakh annually.

As far as perks are concerned, Lakhowal is being paid Rs 30,000 salary per month and a compensatory allowance of Rs 5,000. With increase in the salary package of ministers, Lakhowal’s salary is also set to increase.

In over seven years, Lakhowal has been paid Rs 24.70 lakh as salary and compensatory allowance. The Chairman is living in his native village Lakhowal in Ludhiana district for which the Board is paying a House Rent Allowance of Rs 15,000. The Board has given Rs 13.20 lakh as HRA to Lakhowal. Three suits are reserved for the Chairman and the Board management at Kisan Bhawan in Chandigarh.

Lakhowal said: “I could have opted for a house in Chandigarh, but it would have entitled me to higher HRA. So, to avoid burdening the exchequer I decided to live at my native village.”

The Board has spent Rs 7.43 lakh on furniture alone in the new building that houses Lakhowal’s office. It includes two revolving chairs worth Rs 28,574 (each costing Rs 14,317) and an office table with side rack costing Rs 82,296. The office boasts of sofa sets worth Rs 3.09 lakh. Earlier, Rs 4.21 lakh were spent to buy furniture. Besides a personal assistant and staff, a driver is among those attached with the Chairman. Many farmer unions allege that Lakhowal, who is also the president of Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal), uses the cars and facilities provided to him as Punjab Mandi Board Chairman for the union meetings. Lakhowal denies the charge.

Old 25-Jun-2015
Arun Bhardwaj
Re: Punjab Mandi Board pays for its chief's king-size life

hun total la k v dus dena c kinne ch piya PMB da chairmain 7 saala ch and per month knni cost pe rhi hai janta nu.

Old 25-Jun-2015
[Thank You]
Re: Punjab Mandi Board pays for its chief's king-size life

Raja hai. Raj karda sewa ni karda.

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