Hyderabad: For Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao's trip to China next week, the Telangana government will spend over two crores - not on tickets, but on a private executive jet.
A 50-seater Bombardier CRJ-100 aircraft has been hired for Mr Rao, popularly known as KCR, who is visiting China and other countries between September 8 and 16, with about a dozen people. He is to attend the World Economic Forum in Dalian.
The executive jet is known for luxe interiors with an entertainment centre, LCD screens and customized seats.
A government order on Monday said the Chief Minister's Office had asked that a chartered flight be organized for his visit. The money has been sanctioned and will be debited as "assistance to the public sector and other undertaking," it said.
The state's aviation chief has worked out a bill of Rs 2,03, 84, 625, to be paid in advance to the private jet company AR Airways.
The extravagance has been seized by rival parties in Telangana, a state which has seen some 400 farmer suicides since its birth in June last year.
"He hasn't taken up so many issues...people are dying of dengue, malaria. Diseases are speading, people's health is more important," said Congress leader Hanumantha Rao.
Critics have also pointed out that just days ago, KCR had written to the NITI Ayog asking for additional funds for infrastructure projects.
The BJP said it was inexplicable that so much was being spent on a luxury private jet at a time the state is battling drought and demands for farmer compensations. It would have been cheaper, said the party, even if the Chief Minister had travelled business class on a commercial flight.
In July, the state government spent Rs 5 crore for a Mercedes-Benz bus to take KCR across Telangana. The vehicle can accommodate about a dozen people and has steps to the roof to allow the Chief Minister to occasionally wave to the public.