A study tour to Gujarat mooted by the Kochi Corporation for its councillors has been cancelled owing to political opposition against the move.
Sources said the AICC directly intervened in the issue to cancel the trip.
The tour plan had been facing criticism from the members of the ruling council itself with one of the Congress councillor, Thampi Subramaniyam, describing it as an 'act of indiscretion and a sheer waste of money and time'.
The Corporation, in its previous council meeting, had decided to conduct a tour for 36 of its councillors to visit the cities of Soorat, Baroda and Ahmadabad in Gujarat. The Council was informed that the initiative is included under 'The Peer Experience and Reflective Learning (PEARL)' project of JNNURM, which aims to share the expertise and experience of individual states in carrying out the JNNURM projects.
The finance committee of the Corporation had agreed to allocate `5.43 lakh for the tour.
Mayor Tony Chammany said they were planning to learn from the JNNURM works initiated by the UPA Government in Gujarat.
"The funds for JNNURM works in Gujarat was provided by the Centre. Our plan was not to see Modi's governance but that of the UPA Government. But, the trip has been cancelled after several members raised opposition," he said.
However, councillor Thampi Subraminayam and few like-minded within the UDF have come out strongly against the move. "This is an act of political indiscretion. The party, right from the grassroot level, has been working a campaign against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. But, the recent decision by the Council is a giving in act to Modi's politics and his election campaigning," said Subramaniyam.
The Councillor also flayed Mayor Tony Chammany and the Finance Committee for approving funds for such a program.
"We all know that Kochi Corporation is neck deep in a financial crisis. We had even conducted a special council meeting to deliberate ways to contain this fiscal crisis. In such a condition, rather than holding its purse tight, the Corporation has decided to lavishly spend `5.43 lakh for the tour. This is a waste of money and time," said Thampi.
Interestingly, some councillors of the LDF had no issues with the Gujarat visit. According to them, the Corporation was invited by the senior consultant and adviser of All-India Institute of Local Self Government (AIILSF) to visit Gujarat and there is no need to spark off a controversy from it.