The pandemic has slowly but surely changed the world order. One thing remains unchanged though. Privileges for ministers continue while the common man has to bear the brunt of taxes and inflation.
The period between June 2020 to November 2021 saw 43 MLAs from both, the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress, claim Rs 1 lakh each towards Covid treatment. This is in accordance with benefits they are entitled to. However, what stands out is MoS Harsh Sanghavi, a BJP MLA from Manjura (Surat) has claimed an aggregate of Rs 17 lakhs in the purported four bouts of ill-health. Interestingly, he is also the youngest of all MLAs in the state.
The state exchequer, therefore, stands drained of a whopping Rs 2 crore towards treatment of the government servants. RTI activist Raj Sisodia, trailing the spends, also pointed out that the very same MLAs show lakhs and crores in their income and assets in the election affidavits. ”Why use taxpayers money for medical care in expensive private hospitals then?” he questioned.
Petlad Congress MLA Niranjan Patel is a close second with an approved bill amount of Rs 16.98 lakh. However, when contacted, the Assembly Deputy Secretary stated that no information has been provided on medical bills of MLAs for Covid treatment.
In his defence, Mr Sanghavi said: “I did tender a claim for reimbursement of bills towards Covid treatment for my father and myself. Those have yet to be cleared. It is a lengthy process. I spent crores on my father’s treatment but sought only a fraction.”
However, Mr Sisodia alleged the MLAs were wasting public funds. “While the common man went through a harrowing time even getting basics like a bed in a government hospital or procuring injections and oxygen cylinders, the MLAs misused taxpayer’s money. It also shows that the government itself does not trust the health services it provides.”