PMs rally: Who will foot the Rs 40 lakh bill?

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Old 14-Sep-2015
Post PMs rally: Who will foot the Rs 40 lakh bill?

Already under fire from the PMO and facing public criticism for taking unprecedented security measures for Prime Minister Narendra Modis rally at Sector 25, the issue of footing the bill of Rs 40 lakh, spent on the tents for the rally, has become a bone of contention between UT departments.
On the amount spent on the stage, pandal and chairs for a gathering of around 25,000 people at the event, that turned out to be largely political, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) authorities have now asked the other departments of the UT to share the expenditure equally.
In a brief event, the Prime Minister had electronically unveiled the plaque of the Sector 63 housing scheme and had launched the website of the Chandigarh Housing Board. Questions have already been raised over the decision of the UT to spend money from the state exchequer on the event, which was largely political as the gathering had been mobilised by BJP leaders from Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana.
Sources in the Administration said a committee comprising the Chief Engineers of the CHB, Municipal Corporation and the UT Engineering Department had been entrusted with the task of finalising the agency for pitching the tents.
Initially, the function was planned at Sector 63. It was then shifted to Sector 34, but finally Sector 25 was finalised as the venue. Two agencies were involved in setting up the pandal. Since the CHB was shown as the organiser of the event, it has to pay the money spent on it. In the guise of the CHB function, the Administration spent money from the state exchequer in making the arrangements, said sources in the Administration.
After the rally, the CHB has now shot off a letter to the UT Engineering Department and the MC asking them to share the responsibility of footing the bill. It is learnt that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is also being asked to share the money as the Sector 25 rally was part of the events, including the inauguration of the airport, for which the Prime Minister had come to the city.
A senior official confirmed that the matter was being taken up with the department concerned.
CHB in poor financial health
At a time when the CHB authorities have claimed that the board is in poor financial health and can go the Super Bazar way, spending a huge amount on the event was not a good proposition.

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