Five Chandigarh BJP councillors back out of revised study tour

Five BJP councillors from Chandigarh Municipal Corporation on Thursday backed out of the revised ‘study tour’ to Indore and Nagpur, even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) permitted its councillors to join the trip.

The study tour — which was initially scheduled for Goa-Mumbai and had drawn widespread criticism both from residents as well as the Opposition as a criminal waste of public funds — was on Tuesday finally set for Indore and Nagpur by Chandigarh Administrator Banwarilal Purohit, who wanted the councillors to “visit progressive cities”.

On Tuesday, Mayor Sarabjit Kaur and Deputy Mayor, Anup Gupta were summoned by the Chandigarh Administrator regarding the proposed study tour to Goa and Mumbai where Administrator was of the opinion that “the delegation must visit Indore, which was ranked 1 among all cities in the last Swacch Survekshan, and learn from the good practices there.

He further suggested that they should visit the state-of-art bio methanation plant at Indore, which was recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and study the suitability of replicating the same in the city. Purohit further said that the councillors should visit the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, which is a pioneer in the field of waste management and water bodies rejuvenation.

Post nod from the UT admin, the councillors were asked to give their consent for the revised tour, which will now take place from September 10-16.

As per reports, eight BJP councillors and nine AAP councillors have given their consent for the revised tour.  
On Thursday, The Indian Express learnt that Chandigarh mayor Sarabjit Kaur’s husband, Jagtar Singh Dhillon’s name had been added to the list of people travelling for the tour, which will see the councillors flying out at 3.25 pm on Saturday.

Till the filing of the report, flight tickets for BJP’s mayor Sarabjit Kaur and her husband Jagtar Dhillon, councillors Saurabh Joshi, Manoj Kumar, Dalip Sharma, Anup Gupta, Kuljeet Sandhu, Jasmanpreet Singh, Kanwarjeet Rana, Rajinder, and for all nine AAP councillors as well as two councillors from the Congress —  Gurbax Rawat and Jasbir Singh Bunty —  had been booked by the administration .

A flight ticket to and fro will cost the Chandigarh exchequer approximately Rs 17,000 per person. Apart from the councillors, four-five officers of the civic body — including joint commissioner Gurinder Singh Sodhi — will be a part of the tour.  

Prodded about her husband joining the tour, Jagtar Dhillon on Thursday told The Indian Express, “She hasn’t travelled to any place alone before this. I accompany her even when she goes to Chandigarh. She wants me to come along with her, else I wouldn’t have agreed.”

On the fact that some BJP councillors, who had initially given their consent for Goa-Mumbai but had backed out of the revised study tour, Dhillon, who is a former BJP councillor, said, “I think they had some personal problems. One councillor has a disc problem I was told. One other councillor backed out as she has her son’s wedding the next month.”

AAP councillors set to join trip

The Chandigarh unit of Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday gave permission to all its councillors to join the study tour to Indore and Nagpur.

Pardeep Chhabra, AAP’s Chandigarh co-incharge confirmed that they had given permission to all their councillors to join the revised study tour, despite the AAP having earlier decided to boycott and having voted against the study tour to Goa-Mumbai. The Congress, BJP and the SAD had voted in favour of teh tour during the House meeting.

On the AAP joining the tour, Yogesh Dhingra, Leader of Opposition said, “ The trip to Goa was entirely a junket and
that is why we were opposed to it. Yes, there is a lot to learn from cities like Indore and Nagpur and that is why we are going.”

The Administrator has directed the group to table a study report within one month of the visit.

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