Sunday, July 01, 2018

Rs 9L spent every month on CM’s OSDs and PROs: RTI

Times of India: Nainital: Sunday, July 01, 2018.
The reply to an RTI query filed by a Haldwani-based activist has revealed that there are at least 10 persons inducted into CM Trivendra Singh Rawat’s secretariat as his staff members after he took over costing the exchequer around Rs 9 lakh per month. The activist Hemant Gauniya alleged that this was a gross misuse of public money considering that the state was grappling with huge debts. “No other CM of a small state has such a big team comprising of officers on special duty (OSDs) and public relation officers (PROs) working with him. What is the need for so many people? This is a gross misuse of tax payer money. It is all the more appalling considering that the state government by its own admission claims to be struggling to pay salaries of its employees,” he told TOI.
The RTI query was filed by the activist on June 8 asking for details of the OSDs and the PROs employed with the CM’s secretariat and what kind of facilities they were being provided including the details of their salaries.
The reply came on June 15 in which the state secretariat provided salary slips of 10 persons. Out of these, four were shown designated as PROs, three were depicted as OSDs while the remaining three were categorised as “Others”. Their cumulative monthly salaries as per the reply was Rs 8,70,281 per month. “The department did not provide any other details except the salary slips. Other facilities extended to these personnel such as vehicle and fuel allowance, housing, phone and internet expenses will make the amount spent on them much more,” Gauniya alleged adding that “the presence of so many OSDs simply shows how the BJP has adjusted people close to the party in the CM’s office at tax payer’s expense.”
When queried about the issue, Darshan Singh Rawat, media co-ordinator of the CM refused to comment saying that “the secretariat officials are authorised to comment on the matter.” Attempts to reach Harbans Singh Chugh, in-charge of the secretariat administration, proved futile.