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India Badal's Swearing-in Bill: Rs 3 Crore

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Badal's swearing-in bill: Rs 3 crore

Rohan Dua, TNN | Mar 15, 2012, 03.42AM IST

CHHAPAR CHIRI (Mohali): Buoyed by the historic success of breaking a 46-year-old jinx, the SAD-BJP alliance on Wednesday indicated it was in no mood to take immediate austere steps for the debt-ridden state, blowing up roughly Rs 3 crore on its first official day.

Standing taller than Delhi's Qutub Minar, the Fateh Burj (Victory Tower) at Chhapar Chiri village in Mohali had become the tallest religious tower in the country following its inauguration last year.

On Wednesday morning, the tower witnessed a grand 45-minute swearing-in ceremony of the Punjab CM and 16 cabinet ministers - one of the costliest in the country - as giant LED screens, trumpets, tall speaker boxes, floral decorations and ostentatious catering surprised the crowd.

"The rough estimate we had arrived at was around Rs 1.5 crore," a reluctant state chief secretary S C Aggarwal told TOI.

However, catering alone left the exchequer's coffers lighter by Rs 1.9 crore as more than 20,000 people including friends and family members of VIPs stormed the lawns of the 328ft-tall tower.

"Each plate usually costs Rs 750-Rs 1,000. We don't know the official figures of people. They will be calculated only after the event. But it may be beyond 8,000 already," Rohit Abrol, general manager of Ambrozia Delicacies Pvt Ltd, the hired caterer, said.

The audio-visual show was arranged like a spectacle. Seven giant LED screens, each costing a rental of Rs 1.45 lakh were put up at different locations at the war memorial to relay live images of the ceremony. The screens had been specially hired by a Delhi-based company - Frames 24.

Roughly Rs 15-20 lakh were coughed up to hire the three-way audio system with 35 huge speaker boxes and 150 trumpets from a Sangrur-based light and sound event management company.

"We have been organizing such events for the government before and it costs Rs 5-10 lakh. However, we were told that the sound system has to be three-way, so the costs flared up. A similar system might be used tomorrow for our Gurdas Mann show," Kamaljeet Singh, proprietor, Kamal Light and Sound, told TOI over phone.

There were around 30,000 chairs - including cushioned and plastic - at ground and cost for a chair ranges between Rs 5 and Rs 60.

When Aggarwal was asked about the show, he said the ceremony was "official". "Once we get the bills, the total expenditure may be more than we expected," he said.

Earlier, hundreds of Punjab police personnel, traffic policemen and officials from different agencies under the state government together stood on the roads, clearing the way. "Nearly 7,000 personnel including traffic and commandoes for the VIP movement," said an official.

Around 200 state police vehicles including anti-riot vans were deployed to handle any untoward incidents.

source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...crore-on-swearing-in/articleshow/12270117.cms



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