Maharashtra has purchased a 'Distinguished Visitors' car for the travel of VIPs in Palghar district.
In Maharashtra's Palghar, where hundreds of children have died of malnutrition in recent months, two cars have been ordered for 'Distinguished Visitors' only.
Seven-seater Innova cars will be used only by ministers, the government decided recently, sanctioning Rs 40 lakh for them even though severe budget cuts have reportedly choked welfare schemes.
A government document says the cars are designated "for VIPs"; one car will be for the district's guardian minister and the second for all other ministers.
Around 600 children have died of malnutrition this year in Palghar, which is among the state's poorest regions.
Recently, state minister Vishnu Savra, who is the "guardian minister" of the district, had faced the anger of a tribal woman whose two-year-old son died last month.
Last week, the Bombay High Court severely criticized the state government for its lack of sensitivity in tackling the crisis.
"The British also ruled India in the past but did not bother to take any interest in welfare of tribals. Even after independence, the same approach has continued," the court said in sharp comments.
Government sources claim that the cars had been planned since 2014.
The opposition, the Congress and NCP took a jibe at the government saying it has "misplaced priorities".
"Hundreds of malnutrition deaths in Palghar have been reported due to lack of funds. But the government splurges lakhs of rupees on fancy cars," alleged Sanjay Dutt, a Maharashtra Congress leader.