Lucknow, March 30 (IANS) Surprising even his officials, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has issued orders to cut down the cars in his fleet from 40 to just eight and also ordered the specialised hospital operating in his official residence to shut down.
Thirty-two cars have been ordered to be taken away from the chief minister's fleet and repatriated to the Rajya Sampatti Vibhag (state property wing), a senior official with the chief minister's security said.
"The only cars that would now be accompanying the motorcade of the chief minister would be a a fleet of ambassadors and an SUV fitted with jammers," the official told IANS.
The chief minister has also ordered the highly specialised hospital within his official residence to be shut down immediately and said that doctors on duty be sent to hospitals where they are needed more, officials said.
This hospital was formed in 2008 on orders of Mayawati and cost the state exchequer Rs.75 lakh per annum had a medical superintendent, 22 pharmacists, a dozen nurses, four hi-tech ambulances and specialist doctors on 24x7 duty.
The latest move of the 38-year-old chief minister, who has also opened the doors of sprawling official residence for common people, is in stark departure from his predecessor Mayawati who moved around the city in hooter fitted cars and a fleet of 40-plus cars. These included three jammer fitted cars, an ambulance and a fleet of cars of city police and traffic cops.
Akhilesh Yadav has also done away with other security regulations such as stopping of traffic when the chief minister's convoy passes and the use of hooters whenever he moves.
"This is the real face of Samajwad (socialism) where every one, even the chief minister is treated alike," said Rajendra Chowdhary, spokesperson of the Samajwadi Party and a close aide of the chief minister.
Also, in a state where government officials and employees are used to a five-day week, Akhilesh Yadav threw in a surprise when he turned up at his annexe office on a Saturday, quietly and unnoticed without the usual horn honking and siren blaring entourage following him. The SUVs specially imported for Mayawati's fleet have also been grounded, a source said.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at email@example.com)
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