Kerala Speaker's Glasses Cost Rs 50,000; Government Foots The Bill

Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said, "I had trouble climbing steps. So my doctor advised me to get better glasses and I did that," while justifying Rs 50, 000 reimbursement claim for a pair of spectacles

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Kerala Speaker's Glasses Cost Rs 50,000; Government Foots The Bill

Kerala government reimbursed Rs 49, 500 for spectacles of Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan


Thiruvananthapuram:  A new pair of spectacles has put the Speaker of Kerala Assembly, P Sreeramakrishnan, in the eye of a storm. Documents released by activist and advocate DB Binu, who had filed a Right To Information (RTI), petition, showed that Mr Sreeramakrishnan had submitted a bill of Rs 49,500 to the state exchequer for reimbursement for the spectacles bought around six months ago. 

The RTI documents, which give the detailed bill emerged just a day after the state finance minister appealed in the Assembly for austerity while presenting the budget. 

Sources in Mr Sreeramakrishnan's office told NDTV that, "The Speaker's aspects are not just for normal sight issues. He has allied issues and has been advised by the doctor for rounded progressive lens. The high end ones, for his need, cost almost Rs 80,000 in the market.  He had no option but to go for the lens which cost Rs 45,000, to perform his daily duties." 

While the frame, the Speaker bought was for Rs 4,900, the lens cost Rs 45,000, the RTI document revealed. As per the Kerala government rules, for claiming reimbursement, there is no cap on the cost of lens but the frames can't exceed Rs 5000. 

The new controversy comes just months after the Health Minister KK Shailaja was criticised for submitting a bill of around Rs 29,000 for the spectacles. The minister, too, had claimed that it was out of medical necessity that she needed to opt for such expensive lens.

Mr Binu filed the RTI after reports in the media said legislators have been claiming medical reimbursements running into lakhs. The Kerala government is having a tough time defending it. It is unfortunate that the Speaker, who clears medical bills of 140 legislators, himself has not showed any restraint in spending taxpayers' money, said Mr Binu.


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