Srinagar: Misuse of official resource is nothing new in Jammu and Kashmir. A Right to Information query has revealed that the Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand of the state has been using 25 official cars instead of two authorised.
The RTI document mentions that various government departments under Chand's jurisdiction have been faithfully contributing vehicles to him and his office even though they have been experiencing a crunch.
As per a government order, a minister is entitled to two vehicles - one for himself and his guards and the other for his personal staff. Depending on threat perception, a minister can get a couple of more vehicles through the security wing of the police department.
Misuse of official position by those at the helm is nothing new in Jammu and Kashmir, but a state which is struggling to generate its own revenue and is perpetually in debt, this flagrant violation of norms certainly does not set a good example.
Even if the vehicles have been running for the Deputy Chief Minister, the fuel for the cars is being sanctioned by the departments he heads. Sources say a few vehicles have been allotted to the minister's personal staff and have been shown to be in their possession even though they are not entitled to.
But Chand has disagreed. He said, "I don't use these vehicles. Some of my staff may be using them but they are entitled to do so."
Clearly, Tara Chand, who heads the state Urban and Housing Department, has more explaining to do to the tax payers of his state.