COUNCILLORS’ STUDY tours to three destinations this month will cost Rs 18 lakh in all. The BJP-led Municipal Corporation is going ahead with the tour despite BJP leader and former union minister Harmohan Dhawan telling the mayor that the tours are a wastage of public money.
Chief Accounts Officer Uma Shankar Sharma has already released an advance payment of Rs 17.90 lakh which is to be incurred on the tours. For all the three tours, 25 councillors and seven officials are going in different groups. This is the first tour after the controversial tour in 2014 when councillors even took their family members. Of the total amount being incurred this time, Rs 5.89 lakh is being spent only on the tickets of the councillors. An amount of Rs 2.64 lakh is being spent on tickets to Visakhapatnam, Rs 1.65 lakh on tickets to Mumbai and Rs 1.60 lakh on tickets to Pune. The total cost of stay of the councillors and officials at various hotels will be Rs 10.44 lakh, of which Rs 4.18 lakh will be incurred at Mumbai, Rs 3.41 lakh at Visakhapatnam and Rs 2.85 lakh at Pune.
For the local transportation, drinking water and refreshments, an amount of Rs 1.67 lakh will be spent.
Eleven people will be going to Mumbai, of whom eight are councillors and three officials. Mayor Asha Jaswal along with Joint Commissioner Shilpy Pattar and Chief Engineer N P Sharma will be going on this trip along with others. The Mumbai and Pune trips will be from April 17 to April 21. Three days — April 18, 19 and 20 — will be kept for going around and studying various issues like sanitation, water and other corporation-related matters.
Ten people are going to Pune. Of them eight are councillors and two are officials. Former mayor Arun Sood and Additional Municipal Commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta along with others will be going on this trip.
A team of 11 people will be going to Visakhapatnam. The group will be led by Senior Deputy Mayor Rajesh Gupta; nine are councillors and two are officials. The Visakhapatnam trip will be from April 18 to April 22.
Former union minister and senior BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan, who had written to Mayor Asha Jaswal saying that they were splurging public money, said that the MC did not have funds to pay salaries of employees, and the councillors were going on tours.
“They are facing a financial crisis. To pay salaries of employees is also getting difficult for them and they are wasting money on these tours,” said Dhawan. In the letter, Dhawan stated that the public had given the BJP a mandate to serve the city instead of splurging money on study tours.