On Thursday, Bhagat Singh Koshyari was denied permission to use the state government aircraft to fly to Dehradun. The governor had to wait for over two hours at the Mumbai airport lounge and then 15 minutes in the aircraft before the captain told him that the permission to fly had not been received. Governor Koshyari booked a commercial flight to Uttarakhand. There might be political factors behind the denial but is it morally right for Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Koshyari or as a matter of fact any other governor asking for a plane for himself for non time sensitive or routine visits?
The Bhagat Koshyari is a Rashtriya Seva Sangh (RSS) veteran who was once the National Vice-President of Bharitya Janta Party and party’s 1st State president for Uttarakhand. He, along with the rest of the governors serve in a time where their roles are under question. Mostly seen as the rubber stamps of the latest political master in the Center, a governor lives a life of opulence and have proved more as a nuisance in the affairs of the state unless the state is ruled by the same party as in the center.
Governor office has clarified that it was an official tour with president’s office permission. He was scheduled to attend an induction program of IAS officers at Mussoorie. Does the Maharashtra government or tax payer has to pay for these types of visits? Are these time sensitive or so important that the Governor should have an entire plane for himself? This could have been on a regular commercial flight isn’t it?
The entire excuse of attending the induction program of IAS officers looks more of a convenient excuse to fund an official trip to Uttrakhand which is reeling under a natural disaster and Khoshyari as a special affinity for the state. Does the Officialdom regard public as a fool?
Maharashtra itself is suffering from COVID related disaster. The Governor didn’t have time to visit the Maharashtra Districts but had time for meeting actress Kangana Ranaut and writing a letter to open up temples in the peak of COVID-19 pandemic. This also brings to the questions if the Governors have nothing better to do?
The Governors (Emoluments, Allowances and Privileges) Act, 1982 allows only certain travelling expenses for the Governors – In respect of the journey for assuming office from the place where he is ordinarily residing to the place of his duty; and (b) in respect of the journey on relinquishing office from the place of his duty to the place where he would ordinarily reside thereafter or if he is to take up any other office under the Government (including the office of the Governor of another State) after such relinquishment, to the place of duty with respect to such other office. Asking for a state funded plane for a personal visit is a misuse of tax payers money and does not morally behoove a man in the post of a Governor.
Can India really afford these constitutionally unimportant posts in the digital era which includes video conferencing? Maharashtra government should divulge how many such unimportant trips were taken on state’s expenses by Governor Koshyari during the previous government’s tenure.