The Maharashtra government spent Rs 8 crore from its contingency fund to meet publicity expenses for the foundation stone laying ceremonies of various projects which were kicked off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last December.
The projects also included the "jal poojan" of the Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial in Arabin sea.
"It was decided to provide funds of Rs 8 crore for advertisement and publicity for the 'Jal Poojan' ceremony of the memorial of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and (for) inauguration of Mumbai Metro line, Sweree-Nhawa Sheva project and new railway projects under Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)," the PWD Department stated in the supplementary demands for grants tabled by Finance department in both Houses of the Maharashtra legislature on the first day of the budget session.
The supplementary demands for grants worth Rs 11104 crore, 96 lakh, 25 thousand would be discussed on March 14 and 15.
During his visit to Mumbai on December 24, Modi had performed "Jal Poojan" for the Shivaji memorial in Arabian sea.
He had also laid the foundation stones for key infrastructure projects, including 22.5-km Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, two new metro projects, and for multiple works to be carried out as part of the third phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project.
The PWD stated that the amount was withdrawn from contingency fund (CF) since the expenditure was of an "urgent nature". However, the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde (NCP) criticised the government over withdrawal from the CF.
"The CF is reserved for purposes of urgency and this fund must be used carefully. However, the state has a normal practice of using the CF for any purpose. "We are asking for financial assistance to farmers, but the government has no money for farmers. At the same time, it is using CF for publicity purposes. This is disgusting," he said.
The government has made a provision of Rs 14.07 crore in the supplementary grants as an expenditure to provide financial assistance to the kin of farmers who had committed suicide. Besides, Finance Department had made a provision of Rs 1000 as a token for the purchase of 88 branded touchscreen detachable laptops for members of the Legislative Council, the total expenditure for which was Rs 1.44 crore.