Kochi: Miffed that the cash-strapped Kerala state government spent public money on feeding and lodging delegates to the Loka Kerala Sabha, a prominent NRI entrepreneur has decided to pay back Rs 2500 for the food he had at the event.
Sohan Roy, managing director of the Aries Group of companies, said he would pay Rs. 2500 for the food he had during the second edition of the Loka Kerala Sabha (LKS).
“I was under the impression that the food provided to delegates during the summit was sponsored by some agencies. I would have definitely avoided the dinner if I knew that the government spent nearly Rs 2000 for it. There are several catering units which can provide the food at less than Rs 500. Hence, I am returning the amount of Rs 2500 to compensate for the loss incurred by the public. If the government has no provision to accept the amount, I will transfer it to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund,” Sohan Roy said in a Facebook post.
“I had even rejected five-star hotel accommodation provided to other delegates, considering the government’s financial condition,” he added.
The state government is in the dock over the exorbitant expenditure it incurred for the second edition of LKS held in Thiruvananthapuram from January 1 to 3, which was attended by delegates from 47 countries and 21 Indian states.
The government launched the LKS in 2018 with the objective of cultural, socio-political and economic integration of NoRKs with the state.
The government spent Rs. 83 lakh for food and accommodation when the state is reeling under a severe economic crisis and finding it difficult to clear bills of many projects pending with the treasury. The food for delegates was provided by a hotel in Kovalam, and it was priced at Rs 550 for breakfast, Rs 1900 for lunch and Rs 1700 for dinner.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala criticised the LKS saying that it was an unpardonable extravaganza that fetched nothing. The United Democratic Front (UDF) representatives including 46 MLAs and 23 MPs boycotted the event in protest against the lavish spending....