Few things scream hypocrisy as a communist’s entitlement for public fund. Kerala Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan has billed the exchequer Rs. 50,000 for a pair of glasses. According to a reply received on an RTI filed by Kochi-based RTI activist D B Binu, the Speaker had claimed Rs 4,25,594 in form of medical reimbursement from September 5, 2016 to January 19, 2018, of which, Rs. 49,900 was for buying eyeglasses (Rs. 45,000 for lens and Rs. 4,900 for frame). This, after the Assembly Speaker Vakkom Purushothaman had put a cap on reimbursement for spectacle frame at Rs. 5,000.
Defending his requirement for the expensive glasses, Sreeramakrishnan smiled and told the media persons that the spectacles are bought as per advice of his doctor. Ironically, in the state budget presented a day prior, finance minister Thomas Isaac had stressed that the government should bring down expenses in the wake of the financial crisis in the state.
This is not the first time communist leaders have made the taxpayers pay for their exorbitant expenses. Kerala health minister K K Shylaja billed the taxpayers Rs. 28,800, also, for a pair of glasses. There were also allegations that Shylaja had forged documents to claim reimbursement of medical expenses for her husband and the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau has begun a preliminary probe on a complaint from BJP state general secretary K Surendran. According to the complaint, the minister had misused her position and fabricated documents for the purpose of cheating the public exchequer and the government to extract Rs. 3,90,250.
Binu pointed out that the MLAs are spending lavishly from government funds when the government is struggling to pay pension dues to KSCTC employees and compensation to endosulfan victims.