Agenda not clear, but Chandigarh councillors ready for another ‘study tour’
While 20 councillors have already given consent for the tour, MC has yet to set the agenda for the trip.Updated: Dec 09, 2019 01:29 IST
Even as UT adviser Manoj Parida hasgiven sanction to another study tour of councillors to Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram, the municipal corporation (MC) has no clear answer on the purpose of the five-day trip starting December 21.
Giving no satisfactory response, mayor Rajesh Kalia said he will soon hold a press briefing about the tour’s mandate. Most of the 20 councillors, who have given their consent for the tour, are also clueless.
Sector 22 councillor Ravi Kant Sharma told HT, “We might be studying solid waste management system in Thiruvananthapuram, but will get more clarity on Monday.”
What Sharma is not aware of is that the southern city was ranked 363 in the Swachh Survekshan earlier this year, much below Chandigarh’s 21st rank.
On whether she was aware of the tour’s motive, another councillor Shipra Bansal said, “The mayor or commissioner are the appropriate contact persons to comment on this.” On why she was going, she replied that the word “study tour” was enough for her to give consent.
Sources said the adviser cleared the tour just on the basis of a simple note from the mayor, even though it had no mention of why MC planned the tour .
WASTAGE OF PUBLIC MONEY, WILL NOT BE PART OF IT: CONGRESS’ BABLA
Congress’ leader of opposition Devinder Babla said his party’s councillors were not in favour of this trip as it was sheer wastage of public money by the BJP mayor and councillors.
“At a time when MC is short of development funds, instead of spending on study tours, the BJP should use the money on city’s development and beautification,” he said.
Sources said ₹20 lakh had already been sanctioned for the trip, while the overall expenditure may swell to ₹30 lakh as councillors’ stay was planned in five-star hotels.
Congress councillor Satish Kainth termed the tour a mere drama, “like all previous ones”.
“I got a call from MC office on Friday seeking consent for the trip. However, I told them to first make the purpose of the trip clear and how it will benefit the city,” he said.
A former mayor from the ruling BJP, who wished not to be named, said there was no harm in going on study tours, but the mayor should first clear the agenda on why councillors need to visit Kolkata or Kerala.
He said if the tour was meant just for leisure, it should be termed “cultural exchange programme” rather than study tour. “There has to be transparency, especially since the councillors faced major embarrassment after their September tour to Leh and Ladakh,” he added.
₹2.5 CRORE SPENT SINCE 2006
The corporation had spent ₹2.5 crore on various study tours since 2006, but the expenditure has remained highly unfruitful since none of the reports of these tours have been implemented.