Four days before the monthly municipal corporation (MC) House meeting, BJP councillor Satinder Singh is apprehensive that councillors who went on a study tour to Port Blair will evade his questionnaire.
The tour, which was scheduled from August 31 to September 9, has been mired in controversy for overshooting the sanctioned expenditure and for family members of several councillors joining the trip, taking the delegation to 40 from the approved 26. MC spent Rs 28 lakh on the tour to Port Blair, Chennai and Kolkata.
Sources said some BJP councillors, who were part of the study tour, had asked the MC officials to stay mum on the questionnaire. Also as majority of the councillors were part of the tour, the officials would not take the questionnaire seriously, sources added.
Speaking to HT, Satinder Singh said, “I submitted the questionnaire well before time and these are simple questions, but I have learnt that some councilors are pressuring officers to not bring the answers as they are afraid of skeletons tumbling out of the closet. The people of Chandigarh want to know about the wasteful expenditure of the so-called elected representatives. It is clear that if they will not bring answers in the House, then it sure that something is wrong.”
Meanwhile, BSP councillor Jannat Jahan said, “It is astonishing that BJP councillors, who were terming the study tour as wasteful expenditure till last year, even took along their family members this year. They are befooling the people of Chandigarh. Also we have never heard a delegation going to Port Blair for a study tour, as people go there for holiday trips. Moreover, I fail to understand, how they are going to compare an Island with Chandigarh. I will raise the issue in the house on September 25.”
“If we look at the history of study tours in the past 10 years, the councillors have wasted more than Rs 1 crore of public money. They did not even learn any lesson from the past and went ahead with family members to enjoy the holiday trip and wasted around Rs 28 lakh at expense of tax payers,” said nominated councillor Shafguta Parveen.
MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
HT has already reported that even the MC did not follow the mandatory norms for finalising the travel agency as no tenders were invited. The mandatory public notice for inviting quotations was also not issued, before finalising a Panchkula-based travel agency, Journey Cook.