Legislators' Amazon trip: CM justifies, says it is a routine trip

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Karnataka MLAs postpone trip to Amazon forests
Bangalore, Dec 26:Karnataka government has decided to postpone the Amazon rain forest trip after the media questioned the matter. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday justified the travel plan saying it is a 'routine trip'. "Don't blow the incident out of proportion", he told the media.

Thirty Karnataka MLAs were supposed to take part in the luxury trip to Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Amazon rain forests to apparently understand its flora and fauna and study the waterfalls in the Amazon forests and sporting activity, said a Times of India report. Reportedly, the fortnight long tour will cost the state exchequer Rs 2.25 crore.

The MLAs defended the trip saying that the legislators get only one opportunity to undertake a study tour abroad in five years, whereas MPs go often.

The Times of India reported that the trip will cost Rs 7.5 lakh per member.

Committee member and Congress MLA NA Haris said such trips provide legislators a good opportunity to get to know each other. "I don't think it's wrong. We don't get to travel business class. Legislators represent Karnataka's 6 crore population. Generally, it's first- and second-time legislators who go on these junkets. Last time, I went to Washington and London. That trip gave me an insight into many things. Our state budget is Rs 1.21 lakh crore, so a couple of lakhs for a junket won't matter," he added.

However, a panel member, BJP legislator V Suneel Kumar, said he isn't part of the junket. "My constituency work is important."

Congress MLA BC Patil had taken exception to the flak their tour had received. "Why shouldn't we go on a junket? Are we committing ahe had said.

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