Public criticism has forced two legislature committees to put on hold their proposed ‘study tour’ abroad. But, nine members of another legislature committee have already landed in Australia.
They are scheduled to visit New Zealand and welcome 2014 in style at a private hotel on the Fiji Islands, where the sun rises first in the whole world. On Thursday, sources in the secretariat said that the Estimates Committee’s study tour to Brazil, Argentina and Peru had been postponed indefinitely after the adverse reactions, mainly in the media, to their trip.
While the chairman of the committee Malikayya Guttedar, the Congress MLA, is reportedly not ready to yield to the pressure to scrap the ‘study tour’, several members in the Estimates Committee are now sceptical about going on the tour. JD(S) MLA Shivashankar, who till Wednesday was for the trip, on Thursday said that he was not bothered with it any more.
“I have not given any thought to the trip,” he told Deccan Herald. Guttedar remained incommunicado.
According to officials in the secretariat, the Urban Local Bodies and Panchayat Raj Committee too had obtained sanction for its ‘study tour’ abroad. Now, this committee – with B Sriramalu and D K Shivakumar as its members – has also decided to postpone its trip.
The members of the Committee on Welfare of Backward Classes and Minorities is presently ‘holidaying’ in Australia.
The tour of the nine members, including three officers, is on till January 5, 2014. The members have already drawn an advance of Rs 96 lakh towards the trip. The balance 10 per cent of the funds will be claimed by the members once they return. This amount is exclusive of the TA/DA which the members will claim after they return.
None in the legislature secretariat is coming forward to give information regarding the tours of the various committees, though public money is being spent on them.
It is a known fact that no legislator bothers to submit a report on the ‘study tour’ or at least discuss about the ‘knowledge’ they gain, on the floor of the House.
BSR Congress MLA from Kudachi P Rajeev, who is also a member of the committee, told Deccan Herald, “I do not think it is wrong to travel abroad. MLAs who visit foreign countries gain knowledge which can be used for developing their constituencies.”
Rajeev said even he was all set to go on the tour, with the visa coming through for the three countries.
However, due to constituency-related matters, he decided to drop out at the last moment. Four other MLAs also dropped out of the ‘study tour’ due to personal or constituency-related matters.
Commenting on the trips, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, “I have no role play in this regard. It does not come under my purview. The MLAs have taken a decision to tour and they have gone ahead with it.”
When Jagadish Shettar was the chief minister, he had cancelled the trips of certain legislature committee members as there was public criticism. He had said that due to the drought-like situation in the State, it was not right on the part of the MLAs to tour abroad.