The so-called study tour of 20 councillors and six officials of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) to Port Blair, Chennai and Kolkata from August 31 to September 9 was more about fun and leisure with their families, thus splurging lakhs at the expense of local taxpayers.
It has been learnt that the councillors only spent four hours in meetings and presentations with the civic bodies of Chennai, Kolkata and Port Blair. Even worse, some of the councillors did not even bother to attend the meetings.
The issue of the 10-day-long trip will be taken up in the MC house meeting scheduled on September 25.
It has also come to light that it was not only Havelock Island, which was not part of the itinerary, for which the touring group spent around Rs 4 lakh alone, but they also went to Ross Island in Port Blair.
One of the councillors, who was part of study tour, said, “It was unfortunate that former mayor and SAD-BJP councillor Harjinder Kaur skipped the meeting on disaster management in Port Blair and went for sightseeing with the family members of BJP councillors Arun Sood and Asha Kumari Jaswal.”
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor Satinder Singh said, “I have already sought queries on the study tour from the officials concerned. It will be taken up in the MC house meeting on September 25. From day one, we knew that they are going for leisure. They wasted huge public money. Now the people of Chandigarh want to know about the wastage of their hard-earned money.”
Two officials — UT director public relations-cum-joint secretary home MM Sabharwal and MC law officer Ashok Gautam — got a bitter taste of the tour. After the entire team left the Tirupati Balaji Temple, which is nearly 70 km from Chennai, the two remained at the temple only and no contact could be established with them.
Their wallets, mobile phones and shoes were left in the car only. They hired a cab and reached Chennai after about an hour.
AAP flays tour at taxpayers’ expense
The Chandigarh unit of Aam Aadmi Party has strongly condemned the 10-day trip at the taxpayers’ expense.
In a press release, AAP said it was a clear loot of public money which was used for personal excursion. The tour does not serve any purpose for the betterment of city.
AAP worker Gurjusjit Singh said, “If they had to see the projects on projector, they could have done it here. This also shows how poorly the tour was organised. But it was organised well for the enjoyment of all who went for a free ride on public money to Tirupati and Andaman which was not part of the itinerary.”
“We demand answers from the public representatives as how did they get license to loot public money. We expect high standards in public life from municipal councillors,” he said.
“We demand an inquiry into it and ask them to refund the money spent on the parts that were not part of itinerary,” the AAP worker further said.