A study tour organised by the municipal corporation meant for 20 councillors and six officers eventually‘accommodated’ more than 40 people, due to various pulls and pressures.The city’s powerful also drained the exchequer of Rs 30 lakh, Rs 10 lakh more than what was sanctioned, on a ten-day trip to Port Blair, Chennai and Kolkata from August 31 to September 9.
Worse, even a bare reading of the law reveals blatant violations.
The Punjab Municipal Corporation Act,extended to Chandigarh,states that councillors cannot travel by air on official purpose , nor can they stay in five-star hotels. The food allowance is Rs450. The councilors travelled by air and stayed at five-star hotels.
The expense was bloated as some councillors even took their family members along. These near and dear ones paid for tickets and boarding,but the MC picked up the tab for their food and local travel .
The touring party visited the beaches of the Havelock Island, not a part of the itinerary, and spent around rs4 lakh on the excursion. The tab has again been picked up by the civic body.
Some members, part of the study group, did object to the extravagance.
Former mayor and Congress councillor,Subhash Chawla, part of tour, said, “Some councillors took their friends and relatives along, which could have been avoided.”
SPECIFIC INSTANCES OF RELATIVES TAGGING ALONG
HT has learnt that travel agent for the trip was also chosen on the recommendations of a senior BJP councillor, without much effort to see if was the most economical for the need.
BJP councillor Asha Kumari Jaswal tagged along the daughter of party officer bearer Sunita Dhawan to the tour, claiming that she was her niece. Dhawan is the president of the BJP Mahila Morcha. Jaswal could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Former mayor Harjinder Kaur joined the tour at Port Blair after three days and a special package was booked for her.
CBI INQUIRY DEMANDED
Reacting to the news, BSP councillor Naresh Kumar said, “We demand a CBI probe. The MC has simply thrown away rs 10 lakh of tax-payer money.”
BJP councillor Satinder Singh said. “No procedure was followed even for the selection of the travel agent. I have learnt that nine SUVs were hired to ferry 40 members, while for 25 members five would have been enough. This is loot in broad daylight.”