An elected legislator to the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha not only enjoys yearly salary hikes but also is privileged with being served a sumptuous lunch, each day of a working session, at highly subsidized rates. Besides the lawmakers, a strong press corps also part takes in the well laid out buffet.
The food served to this elite class is provided by HP Tourism Development Corporation and the per plate price only costs Rs 40 – 50.
The seven course meal which include a chicken and mutton dish, a cheese dish, seasonal vegetable, dal, rice, curds, salads, bread/roti and a sweet dish is laid out in a buffet during the days the house is in session.
Himachal Tourism at its flagship hotels of Hotel Peterhof and Hotel Holiday Home for a similar meal bills a customer Rs 800/- to Rs 1200/- per plate, when the venue is privately booked for functions like marriages but the MLA’s and Press Corps only pays only Rs 40 for a vegetarian diet and Rs 50 for a non vegetarian meal.
However, HP Tourism Development Corporation – a commercial public sector undertaking, claims that the food served at Vidhan Sabha is provided on a no profit, no loss basis.
Ruling Congress and opposition BJP members of the Vidhan Sabha dropped all issue over which the opposition had been staging walkouts for a week, to come together last week, to vote for a hefty pay hike for themselves that has increased their salaries billed to the public exchequer to over Rs 1 lakh per member.