In a change of heart that seems to be dictated by the imminent end of his tenure on December 31, Chandigarh municipal corporation mayor Harphool Chander Kalyan is set to leave for a Rs 5-lakh study tour of Israel, accompanied by the executive engineer of the public health department in the MC, BK Dhawan, from December 18 to 26.
What makes the motive of the trip even more suspicious is the fact that the ostensible purpose of this trip remains the same as junkets sent, previously.
Sample this: The tour has been planned even as last year, from October 17 to 26, MC commissioner, Vivek Pratap Singh, former mayor, Subhash Chawla, executive engineer, Rajesh Bansal went to Israel, spending around Rs 7 lakh to study the water system only. The report of that tour has been prepared and several recommendations were made, but till date nothing has been implemented.
Confirming the study tour, a senior officer in the MC said the team was indeed leaving on December 18 till 26 and Rs 5 lakh will be spent on the tour.
The mayor refused comment.
The tour organiser
Administrative Staff College of India, a government institution in Hyderabad organises such study tours. The mayor and the official will spend three days in Hyderabad and six days in Israel. The rates have been increased to Rs 2.5 lakh per person from the last year’s Rs 2.25 lakh. BJP councillor Satinder Singh said this was nothing but loot of public money.
Even the study tour, which was scheduled from August 31 to September 9, to Port Blair, generated controversy for overshooting the sanctioned expenditure and for family members of several councillors joining the trip, taking the delegation to 40, instead of the official 26. More than Rs 28 lakh were spent.
Change of mind
This tour to Israel was also planned in November, but the mayor had cancelled it after HT reported the matter.