Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM state secretariat on Thursday decided not to pay for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s controversial helicopter trip from Thrissur to Thiruvananthapuram and back saying there was no violation of rules.
The secretariat said the expenses for the helicopter trip should be borne from the government’s general fund.
Even though a section of CPM leaders had given an indication that the party might bear the expenses, the Chief Minister’s statement at the CPM Idukki district conference public meet on Wednesday that there was no violation of rules prompted the secretariat to say no to payment. After the meeting, CPM secretariat member and law minister A.K. Balan clarified that the money for the trip was taken from State Disaster Response Fund and not the Ockhi relief fund justifying there was no need to pay the helicopter bill.
“There is no violation of rules. Nothing has been done violating the existing provisions. Not even 10 paisa has been taken from Ockhi relief fund. Ockhi relief fund and CM’s disaster relief fund are separate. Ockhi fund comes under CMDRF and nothing has been taken from that fund,” he said.
Mr Balan said all ministers use funds from SDRF. PMs, Central ministers, CMs and ministers have utilised funds in the past. When asked why the order issued by additional chief secretary P.H. Kurian was scrapped, the minister said a wrong impression had been created that the money was taken from the Ockhi relief fund. Mr Balan alleged that former chief minister Oommen Chandy had taken money from CMDRF.
“He took `29 crore from tsunami fund. But we have not taken any amount from Ockhi fund,” he said.
The minister said Mr Pinarayi Vijayan was not expected know about the mode of payment for his travel. He had to rush to Thiruvananthapuram to the delegation sent by Centre to visit Ockhi affected aeras in the state.
“All these logistics including travel arrangements are made by officials. “What Kurian did was totally right. There is no violation of rules,” he added.
It may be recalled that cooperation minister Kadakampally Surendran had stated that CPM was capable of footing the helicopter bill.