With the UT administration approving names of 20 councillors for study tour last week, it is confirmed that opposition councillors of the SAD-BJP will not get an opportunity to cool themselves off in the backwaters of Kerala, which has raised their tempers. It is likely that in the last week of this month, Congress, BSP and nominated councillors would be packing their bags for Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The eight-day trip is part of study tour undertaken to educate people's representatives about the functioning of different local bodies down south.
Mayor Subhash Chawla, however, did not find the opposition councillors fit for the tour as he had refused to consult them. The denial attracted charges of bias and retribution.
"Nominated and Congress councillors are hand in glove and ignoring us. We will see how this study tour is carried out," the BJP-SAD councillors said.
This year, the MC plans to spend around Rs 15 lakh on the study tour of 20 councillors and five accompanying officers to different cities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu to "learn about the working of civic bodies in south India".
BJP councillor Arun Sood said, "It is very unfortunate that the mayor only sent the list of Congress and nominated councillors, and the opposition members have been ignored. We are not against the study tours, but it is confirmed the Congress and nominated councillors are hand in glove. We were never consulted on this issue and we will raise the issue in the House meeting on August 8."
Another BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi said, "I have no clue about any study tour and nobody has consulted us. We have only learnt about it from the officers of MC."
Interestingly, before sending the list to the administration, all Congress, nominated and BSP councillors were asked for their consent, but the BJP-SAD councillors were not consulted.
In the House of 35, SAD- BJP has 11 councillors, Congress has 12, BSP two and one is Independent. There are nine nominated councillors.
The study tours of councillors have come under fire, as in the past eight years the civic body has spent around Rs 1 crore on these tours.
It is another matter that some of the projects, which the MC launched after these tours, have proved damp squibs. In all cases, not even reports on the benefits likely to accrue from the entire exercise were submitted.
When contacted, mayor Subhash Chawla said, "I have asked BJP councillors for the study tour, but some to them refused to go. If others are really interested in the tour, I will send them in a separate group."