Who can forget the hype that was recently created by the International Gita Mahotsav that was celebrated in the Kurukshetra district of Haryana State few months back. Now, it turns out that the Government of Haryana spent around 15 crore rupees on that event and the amount was paid from the hard earned tax payer’s money.
As per an RTI filed by Rahul Sehrawat, a resident of Hisar, to the Kurukshetra Development Board, the Government of Haryana spent INR 4.32 crores in within 9 days. This money was spent for the arrangements that were done to celebrate the International Gita Mahotsav from November 25, 2017 to December 3, 2017. Every penny of this amount was taken from the Treasure of Government of Haryana. The RTI has also revealed that Rs. 3.8 lakhs were spent just on the 8 copies of the Bhagavad Gita that were gifted to the VVIP Guests that took part in the event.
The RTI activist from Hisar has also claimed that the amount that was actually sanctioned for this event was much more than the amount revealed by the RTI. He argued that a total amount of Rs. 15 crores was alloted to the event, but the board has given records only of Rs. 4.32 crores. The 4.32 crores that has been informed through the RTI mainly includes expenses for Air Tickets of Foreign Visitors worth 26.6 Lakhs, Decoration of Main Stage worth 15 Lakhs and Repair work of Sarovar worth 1.11 Crores. But the expenses that actually gave rise to the controvorsies about this event are of the copies of Bhagavad Gita and performances of Manoj Bajpayee and Hema Malini which when combined costed around 30 Lakhs.
Just when this news made its way to the national media, Chief Minister of Haryana, Shri Manoharlal Khattar, outrightly gave statement to the Times of India that all the expenses on this event were done after a careful discussion within the government and they will continue to take such decisions in the future also. Futhermore, Shri ML Khattar said that the money that has been spent in the event was for creating the awareness in the society. In order to defend the price of these expensive Gita copies, the officials from the Government of Haryana informed that the copies were made with a special kind paper. The copies were designed in such a manner that they looked like ancient manuscripts. The order of these copies were given to ‘Tanvi Stationaries’ for Rs. 3,79,500.
Many Popular Celebrities and National Politicians graced the event on different days. Notable among these were Hon’able President Shri Ramnath Kovind, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, Union Minister Uma Bharti, Governers of Haryana & Himachal Pradesh. The specially made Gita Copies, costing 37,000 each, were gifted to them along with few other guests.
Although, Government of Haryana is defending their actions about this event, but the opposition is condemning them for spending too much of the Hard-earned money of the tax-payers at a place that was of no concern to the Public. Former Chief Minister of Haryana from Congress, Bhupender Singh Hooda said that present government of Haryana is no different from an Event Management Company and they just want to misuse the public funds to set their own agenda. On the other hand, MP from Hisar and senior INLD leader, Dushyant Choutala has asked for an explaination from the Chief Minister of Haryana about the specialities of the Books that made them worth Rs. 37,000 each when a normal copy of Gita can easily be bought from market at Rs. 200. He further said that the RTI information in itself proves the misuse of Public Money.
Challenging all the allegations, Khattar said that the money was spent on creating awareness in the society and it was needed in the larger interest of society.