Punjab MLAs take 'whisky' tour despite flood crisis

Last Updated 15 July 2010, 17:13 IST

The stated motive for undertaking the trip under the aegis of the Assembly Pollution Control Committee is to study the whisky manufacturing processes in Scotland and pollution management by the distilleries there.

Ignoring the advice and lack of sanction from the finance department, the legislators led by the state assembly speaker, Nirmal Singh Kahlon have set sails for Scotland. Even the state pollution control board does not support the basis of their trip.

Those on tour include legislators from ruling Akali Dal and the BJP and one from the opposition Congress.

Earlier, the same assembly committee had studied four distilleries in Punjab and held that the land in 30km radius of these distilleries was polluted by huge traces of alcohol.
This was enough to spur the tour of Scotland to “study” pollution management by distilleries in the land of Scotch.

Interestingly, the state pollution control board has rubbished the committee report on pollution by Punjab distilleries as “shocking and baseless.”Babu Lal, secretary of the board said that the ground water samples taken from near each of the four distilleries had shown no alcohol content.

A board source said, “It is hard to understand what they will study in Scotland and how their knowledge could be used back home. The distilleries in Punjab use molasses for making liquor while the ones in Scotland use grain.”

A Congress spokesperson chuckled, “it is a strange coincidence that legislative committees in the past have always chosen exotic places like Goa, Srinagar, Shimla and Andaman and Nicobar islands to hold their meetings.”

 But then, the legislators apparently believe in mixing business with pleasure or vice versa- all at taxpayers’ expense.

(Published 15 July 2010, 17:13 IST)

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