Crores of rupees were spent on their security when they were alive, but in death too the government spends crores of tax-payer's money in securing their samadhis.
The Union government spends as much as Rs eight crore every year to protect and maintain the 350-acre Samadhi Complex along the banks of the Yamuna river in the heart of the capital, where 17 of our VVIPs are interred.
More than 150 CISF officials headed by an officer of the rank of deputy commandant of CISF guard the complex; and there are two inspectors, four sub-inspectors and a fleet of head constables and constables joining them in the job. "On important days when the VIPs visit the area, the local police and the Special Protection Group take charge of the place," said a senior CISF official.
The eight preeminent ghats have samadhis of Mahatma Gandhi, former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Charan Singh and I K Gujral, and former presidents K R Narayanan, Shankar Dayal Sharma and Giani Zail Singh. Besides, the samadhis of former deputy prime minister Babu Jagjivan Ram and his wife, and that of Sanjay Gandhi are also located in the area.
Till 2006, Delhi Police was in-charge of the security of the complex; it was assisted by the reserved police forces of the state. Then, the task was assigned to a full CISF unit.
Over and above this, the Central Public Works Department employs about 70 people to maintain the plush lawns and open spaces of the complexes. The is footed by the urban development ministry.
Another Rs 10-12 lakh a month. "We have to ensure that the grass on the lawns is green all through the year. That costs a lot," said a CPWD official. The CPWD has two superintending engineers and other lower staff, including 19 gardeners to maintain the lawns.
Last year, the UPA government had announced the plan to build a Rashtriya Smriti, a common samadhi complex to accommodate 80 VVIPs.
Still under construction, it will be a common memorial for all prime ministers, president and vice presidents. When that's built, it will require a larger posse of CISF to guard it.