17 MLCs on foreign junket, officials ride piggyback

 As many as 17 members of the Legislative Council (MLCs) have left the State for a ‘study tour’ of Australia and New Zealand — to last until January 31.  

That’s not all. The MLCs have also ‘amended’ rule 487 of the Karnataka Civil Service (KCS) Rules to accommodate four officials in the Council section, so as to allow them to join the MLCs on the trip.

Their reason for this: The ‘indispensable’ personnel have a very low salary to come under the bracket for travelling abroad under the KCS Rules.
 
In an order passed on January 11, rules for travelling abroad were passed specifically to accommodate the Special Officer to the Legislative Council Chairman, Dr R Narasimhamurthy; K C Prabhu, Divisional Officer; M B Subramanya, a Financial Officer and B Ramesh, an auditor.

Money advanced

Each of these officials have been accommodated with the provision of Rs 5.72 lakh as a Travel Allowance/Daily Allowance, for the trip.

The Council has already provided each official with an advance of Rs 5.15 lakh, while the rest of the amount will be refunded after bills are produced — as per the order.

Sources in the Secretariat said the MLCs, who have an option to go on foreign tours twice in their term of six years, have exercised their ‘right’ this month.

“Each MLC or legislator has the privilege to go abroad twice in their term. A few of these MLCs, who are at the end of their terms, have exercised their option,” an official said.

There is no official word on what the ‘study tour’ is all about. According to officials, the itinerary includes visiting mostly ‘tourist spots’ so as to help the group study the promotion of tourism between Karnataka, New Zealand and Australia.

Leading the contingent is former chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda, and includes nominated members from the party such as M R Doreswamy, the founder of the PES group of institutions.

Others interested

Sources claim that initially, 21 MLCs had expressed their interest to go on the ‘study tour,’ but a few of the legislators  decided not to go abroad because of ‘family constraints’ or otherwise.

Those who have dropped out of the ‘study tour’ include Chairman of the Legislative Council D H Shankaramurthy and Leader of the House V Somanna.

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