It was a helicopter ride by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to attend a CPI(M) meeting at Thrissur district on December 26.
But instead of the CM office footing the helicopter ride, the government passed an order to get the State Disaster Management Authority pay the money from funds kept aside for victims of cyclone Ockhi.
Following protest by opposition, Pinarayi Vijayan's office on Tuesday announced cancellation of an official order that envisaged deducting from the Ockhi cyclone relief fund the expenses incurred on his helicopter ride.
Vijayan flew on board a chartered chopper on December 26 from Thrissur, where he was attending a Communist Party of India-Marxist meeting, and back to the state capital to meet a central team that had come visiting from Delhi to study the damage caused by the cyclone on November 30.
After the meeting, Vijayan flew back to Thrissur. His government had debited the chopper ride's expenses to the relief fund.
"It's really a shame that the money spent on the chopper ride was debited to the Ockhi relief fund account. It clearly shows that the Vijayan government is not at all serious in handling relief operations, which the fisherfolk need badly. This denotes a pathetic state of affairs," said state Congress President MM Hassan.
Vijayan's office said on Tuesday evening that officials were not in the know of things and as soon as they came to know, the order was withdrawn.
The order passed on January 6th claimed that though the bill was Rs 13,00,000, it had been brought down to Rs 8,00,000 after negotiation.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala slammed the government and said that even the cancellation of the order was just a tactic by Pinarayi Vijayan's office to wriggle out of controversy.