‘We saw a reservoir, we felt happy, we landed on a glacier by helicopter, we need such things for tourism in India’ — you may think these the rather endearing recollections of a child fresh from a holiday. But, dear reader, these are the endearing recollections of our MLAs from Karnataka who went abroad with the express purpose of studying about systems there so that they may be implemented here.
The cost was a mere bagatelle, only Rs. 2.5 crore, a small fraction of the state’s budget, according to a frequent traveller MLA BR Yavagal. There are other touching recollections.
They saw cows and sheep grazing in open lands, something they felt the government must focus on. They then saw the amazing sight of fruit being packed and even tried their hand at both cherry picking and making cherry juice, undoubtedly a vital need for those who were reeling under drought conditions in the state at the time of this tour.
When pressed by a persistent television anchor, Mr Yavagal came up with three things he had observed on this jolly jaunt, sorry, study tour. He mentioned cleanliness, discipline and infrastructure.
How will these worthy issues be implemented here? Well, that can be discerned in the next tour. The MLA was quite proud that he and his merry men went by economy class, quite uncomfortable we are sure.
And thanks to the all-pervasive reach of television, we were privy to their hard work. There they were trotting around Australia, cameras round their necks, shopping-bags in hand taking in the sights. Then we see them roughing it out on a river cruise, no doubt to study the water management systems. Now, the more cunning among us would have cleverly fudged the report to suggest that our tour was of utmost import to the country, indeed to global politics.
This is where we feel that our skills as editorial writers could be put to good use by our MPs and MLAs. The next time they go on a study tour, they could either take us along to ‘record’ things or if funds are short give us a fee in return for which we could write up a report in matchless prose replete with fictitious facts.