RAIPUR: The Chhattisgarh government has purchased a fleet of 19 Mitsubishi Pajero off-roaders — all with registration number ending with ‘004’ — for use in chief minister Raman Singh’s convoy.
A government spokesman confirmed to TOI that the CM’s official fleet is being replaced with new SUVs with off-roading capacities and ‘advanced features’.
“Earlier, vehicles in the CM’s convoy had the identical number of ‘005’. Now, all new vehicles have the identical number of ‘004’,” the spokesman said, pointing out that Singh has Z-Plus security and NSG cover since Chhattisgarh is a Maoist-affected state.
“The vehicles have identical numbers only because of security reasons and it has nothing to do with superstition,” the spokesman said, dismissing speculation that ‘004’ was chosen for Singh as he will be seeking election for a fourth term next year.
The opposition Congress, however, protested the purchase of SUVs, calling it wasteful expenditure at a time when the state’s finances aren’t sound and farmers are struggling because of drought-like conditions. Going by ex-showroom price, the fleet would cost over Rs 5 crore.