PATNA: The Bihar government has not paid salaries to 2.5 lakh teachers after November 2015, yet the state education dept on Friday distributed microovens, suitcases & Smart phones as Holi gifts among the state’s 243 MLAs.
State education minister Ashok Choudhary , however, sought to downplay “largesse”. “Each oven cost slightly over Rs 11,000, and the total cost of the 243 ovens would not be more than Rs 30 lakh,” he said and pointed out this was not for the first time that legislators were given gifts during the Budget session.
Deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav also defended the government’s generosity as most of the legislators in Bihar “are from economically backward” families. “Also it’s an old custom,” he said.
The gifts were accepted by legislators cutting across party lines.
On behalf of the ministers and those enjoying the status of minister, their staff received the gifts. “I have not seen the gift,” leader of opposition in the state assembly Prem Kumar said in an apparent bid to evade a question in this regard.