By: VIVEK GUPTA
The report of the controversial “study tour’’ of the members of the municipal corporation and officials to Chennai, Port Blair and Kolkata in September, which was belatedly submitted to Mayor H C Kalyan on Friday, is a copy-paste job from Internet sources, without any utility whatsoever.
A scrutiny of the 20-page report shows that its only original content is the photographs of the tour party attending meetings at the places it visited, and the recommendations which are too general in nature, even irrelevant.
This report will be tabled in the meeting of the general house of the municipal corporation, which is scheduled for December 30.
Nineteen councillors and six officials went on the tour from August 31 to September 9 to study development projects. Nine councillors took along their relatives, numbering 13, virtually turning it into a fun trip. It cost the exchequer Rs 27.8 lakh.
Newsline dissected the report and found that over 90 per cent of the content is verbatim copy of material available on Wikipedia and websites of the civic bodies of Chennai, Port Blair and Kolkata. Check this:
Chennai visit (Pages 1 to 6)
The tour to Chennai was first on the itinerary and the touring party spent there three nights and four days.
The first two pages of the report have been straightaway lifted from “Brief Note on Corporation of Chennai’, available at the Chennai Municipal Corporation’s website http://www.chennaicorporation.gov.in.
They made even grammatical errors while copying from the website. In the introductory paragraph, a line reads that it (the city of Chennai) stretches ‘among’ the Coromandel Coast. Obviously, the correct word should be ‘along’ as rightly mentioned in the website, but the writers of the report have not bothered to correct it.
Almost 70 per cent of page 3 carries details of the tenure and process of election of Chennai mayor, picked verbatim from page number 24 of the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act 1919, available on their website. What is its relevance has not been explained in the report. Interestingly, the report says that copy of the Act was obtained during the visit, when it is actually available online.
Page 4 gives details of the various projects undertaken by the Chennai Municipal Corporation, which were never studied physically by the team. A councillor who was part of the trip said their only field visit was to an Amma Canteen, which has a reference given on page 4. Page 5 has recommendations and page 6 has three photos, one of which is of their field visit to Amma Canteen.
The councillor said, “The Chennai Mayor met us just for a brief period and then we were on our own.’’
It was during this time that the group went to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh for a day.
Port Blair visit (pages 7 to 12)
The very first page gives details of the city, which are copied from the Wikipedia link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port-Blair.
Page 8 and half of page 9 have information about the local municipal council lifted from open website link of the Port Blair Municipal Council http://andssw1.and.nic.in/pbmcwebsite/Forms/home.aspx. The only original part in the report are the photos of the team’s meetings with the council chairperson.
Page 10 has details of the council’s projects and page 11 has recommendations. There is no mention of any field visit. The group spent four nights and five days here.
The team spent two nights and three days at Havelock Island but there is no mention of what they did there.
Page 12 has a few general photos, including a photo of the disaster management office in Port Blair, which the team visited before leaving for Kolkata on September 7.
Kolkata visit (pages 13 to 20)
This part of the report, though the lengthiest one, is lifted from two sources. First three pages (13 to 15) give general details of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, all copied from Wikipedia link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolkata_Municipal_Corporation.
Even the copy-paste is not perfect. It is mentioned in the third para of page 13 that Kolkata is divided into 144 administrative wards whereas the figure given on the web link is 141.
Pages 16 to19 reproduce different provisions of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Act, 1980, which is available at the Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s website. It is not explained why the details of the Act have been reproduced or what is their relevance to Chandigarh.
As in earlier sections, the only original part are the photographs on page 20.