Undeterred by the controversies surrounding the study tours, 10 councillors and two officers of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation are all set to embark on another one to Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu on June 24. The civic body will spend nearly Rs 7 lakh on the tour. The four-day workshop will start on June 24 and continue till June 28.
There is resentment among the 25 left out councillors, who wanted to know the selection procedure. They also said that a delegation of two-three councilors would have been enough to understand the subject and curtailed the expenditure.
The delegation will leave on June 24 for the four-day training workshop - Urban development: A strategy re-look - at Mahabalipuram.
Last year, the tour scheduled from August 31 to September 9 was caught in the eye of the storm for overshooting the sanctioned expenditure. As the family members of the MC functionaries joined the trip and delegation comprised 40 members instead of approved 26. It was alleged that the tour was more about fun and leisure, for which lakhs of rupees were splurged at the expense of taxpayers.
However, when contacted, city mayor Poonam Sharma refused to comment on the issue.
Nominated councillor, Major DS Sandhu (retd), said, "I am not aware of the training programme. I want to know the procedure followed to select the 10 councillors. They should have at least consulted us. It would have been better if a smaller delegation comprising officials having knowledge of the subject was sent."
On the other hand, BJP councillor Satinder Singh alleged that it was shameful that the MC authorities were again sending a delegation on study tour. "They have already wasted more than `2 crore on such tours. They should have placed the agenda in the House meeting for approval. It seems, it was a secret plan of the mayor for her favourites."
"Wasting public money in the name of training has become a trend in the MC. Nobody informed me or called me up and now we feel that they do not consider us part of the House," said BSP councillor Jannat Jahan.
Interestingly, in the past 11years, the civic body has spent around Rs 2 crore on such tours. It is another matter that some of the projects launched by the MC after these tours have been a damp squib. In some cases, even the reports on the benefits likely to accrue from the whole exercise were not submitted.
In the past, councillors had been to different cities across the country and even to exotic Singapore and Bangkok. Some of the projects proposed by visiting councillors after their study tours pertained to night food street opposite PGIMER, fish market, blind park and modern 'dhobi ghats', which are all in various stages of limbo. The so-called "modernised' 'dhobi ghat' in Sector 15 does not have functional washing machines.
Who all are going?
Poonam Sharma (mayor), Rajesh Gupta (senior deputy mayor), Gurbax Rawat (deputy mayor), Arun Sood (BJP), Subhash Chawla (Cong), Pardeep Chhabra (Cong), Saurabh Joshi (BJP), Davesh Moudgil (BJP), Harjinder Kaur (SAD) and Surinder Bahga (nominated)
Officers: Rajeev Gupta (additional commissioner, MC) and Mukesh Anand (Chief engineer, MC)