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UP CM's fleet: Land Cruisers in, Ambassadors out
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | April 19, 2006 13:29 IST
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, who never tires of harping on his frugal needs as a "true samajwadi" (socialist), was fast switching over to another mould.
After his fad for Rolex watches and extravagant lifestyle, it was now his turn to crave for high-speed super luxury cars. And he makes it convenient to make a justification for such opulence - in the name of 'security'.
On Tuesday, he got his cabinet to approve purchase of eight bullet-proof Toyota Land Cruisers for his own fleet.
A sum of about Rs 4 crores was cleared for the purpose.
Each vehicle of Mulayam's choice will cost the state exchequer Rs 66 lakhs. The non bullet-proof version costs only about Rs 36 lakhs.
"The chief minister requires bullet–proof vehicles for security reasons; after all he is entitled to Z-Plus security," said an official spokesman.
In an apparently balancing act for his other colleagues in the council of ministers and others holding equally important offices, the chief minister ensured clearance for purchase of 150 new air-conditioned Ambassador cars . And to ensure that each one of them had proper police escorts in tow, the cabinet has also cleared purchase of 150 Maruti Gypsy jeeps.
Each air-conditioned Ambassador is priced at Rs 5.5 lakhs while a Gypsy costs about Rs 4 lakhs. These would entail a burden of about Rs 14 crores on the state exchequer.