A local unit in Rukum (West) spends Rs 750,000 in foreign junketsThe money would have been better spent on development projects for roads and drinking water, say locals.
A local unit of Rukum (West) has spent around Rs 750,000 from its official coffer in foreign junkets by its mayor and other representatives in the first five months of the current fiscal year.
Mayor of Aathbiskot Municipality Gorkha Bahadur KC visited India thrice in the last five months while Deputy Mayor Gita Nepali, people’s representatives and municipal employees paid a visit to India once under separate programmes.
A jumbo team of 18, including the mayor, deputy mayor, chief executive officer, chief of education unit, and teachers and students of various schools, visited Mumbai, Delhi and Lucknow, among other Indian towns, from October 22 to 29. According to the municipal office, it was an educational tour mainly to visit science museums in those cities.
Similarly, Mayor KC, chief of the education unit Thalbir Oli and Chairman of ward No 3 Kesharman BK also recently visited Bengaluru to learn about juice and winery industry. On the latest India visit, the mayor, mechanical engineer of the municipality Uttam BC, and chairman of a dairy cooperative Janak Batala were in India from November 15 to 17 to visit the dairy industry.
In his defence, KC said the team made the visit to India to learn how to operate dairy and juice industries efficiently .
“The visits were essential, as we brought new technologies and technicians from India to run those industries here,” claimed KC. The municipality already runs a juice industry while the local body is planning to set up a milk chilling centre.
The locals, however, are against the local unit spending money on such junkets.
“The visits were not fruitful. The money would have been better spent on development projects for roads and drinking water,” said Kamal Pariyar, a resident of Aathbiskot Ward No. 11.
As per the existing legal provision, one should get permission from the federal Ministry of Local Development if a mayor wants to visit a foreign country. However, the municipal office did not seek permission for the foreign visits the employees made in the last five months.
According to KC, the municipality had issued budget for the education tour of selected teachers, students and officials to India.
“We did not use the municipality’s budget in two other visits. The representatives and the officials have not claimed any allowances since the visits were not approved by the ministry,” KC claimed.