Fourteen members of the Legislative Council will go on a study tour abroad from December 19 to January 3, 2013.

According to officials in the Secretariat, members of the petitions and housing committees of the Legislative Council, headed by Deputy Chairperson Vimala Gowda, will tour Australia, New Zealand and Macau during the 15-day sojourn.

Despite public outrage against study tours by legislators, members of the all the three major parties — the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) — are undertaking the tour. The team is expected to tour various historical monuments in the three countries.

Besides Ms. Gowda, the others in the team are: T. John, Narayana Bhandage, Mahantesh Shivananda Kaujalagi, Bharati Shetty, Arun Shahapur, Veerakumar Appaso Patil, K. Pratapchanra Shetty, Puttanna, K.B. Shanappa, Shashil G. Namoshi, Marithibbe Gowda, Y.A. Narayanaswamy and Ashwath Narayana.

The team will not be meeting officials or members of legislatures in Australia or New Zealand since permission is required from the Union Ministry of External Affairs for this, officials told The Hindu.

The legislators have hired a private travel agency for making arrangements for travel, food and accommodation abroad. Last September, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar had directed legislators not to undertake study tours abroad following public outrage over legislators visiting South America when the State was facing severe drought.

Following Mr. Shettar’s directive, legislators of two committees had cancelled study tours to Russia and Scandinavian countries in October.

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