Legislators put off junkets, lest they irk public

 The State legislators were at it again, but they postponed their plan to go on foreign junkets at the eleventh hour, fearing public outcry.

At least four standing committees of the State legislature – the Estimates committee, SC/ST committee, Assurance committee and committee on Papers Laid – had drawn up plans to go on foreign junkets on the pretext of study tour. The legislators, about 50 of them, had reportedly started making preparations for this purpose.

The itinerary of the Estimates committee includes Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, Buenos Aires and other holiday destinations. The tour was estimated to cost about Rs 5 lakh for every legislator. But, as the news about their preparations became public, the committees postponed their tour, fearing criticism from the public.

Moreover, Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa is learnt to have been against the legislators going on tour when the State is facing drought. 

He reportedly said that he was yet to receive a report from an official committee set up to frame guidelines for the legislators’ study tours. Permission for foreign tours will be given based on the report, he is learnt to have said.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the Speaker said that there was no proposal by any committee to travel abroad. “I have neither received any proposal nor have I approved any tour for any committee,” Thimmappa said.

Earlier, MLA Tanveer Sait of the Assurance Committee said he is not going on any tour. The panel has decided to drop the junket plans. 

“We wanted to study the drinking water schemes implemented by the Israelis so that they can be implemented by us in Karnataka. However, on account of the controversy surrounding the tour by legislators and the drought in several taluks of the State, we have dropped the idea of touring abroad,” he said.

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