By: Mohit Behl
Dharamsala: Parliamentary standing committees are today a very important part of the policy-making process in our country, but very little is known about the working of these committees, except that the worthy member MPs take up long journeys to study issues at hand. What they do during these journeys was visible during one such visit by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development, consisting of around 10 MPs, to Chinmaya Tapovan Ashram near Dharamsala, as the lawmakers left their local host Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (CORD), a reputed NGO, huffing and puffing over their attitude towards developmental issues. So much so, CORD national director Dr Kshama Metre, a Padma Shri awardee, could hardly control her anger and openly described them as ‘tourists’.
After being welcomed at the Ashram, the MPs, of course enjoyed the hospitality and also bowed in reverence of Swami Chinmayananda, the founder of the mission, and even vowed to follow his teachings, but once the sumptuous delicacies were finished and all things good said, the legislators completely forgot the programme ahead. They were supposed to review developmental programmes being carried out by CORD at a function organized by the NGO to celebrate its 25 years of service to the mankind. Our worthy parliamentarians ignored the scheduled programme, and instead chose to head for the happening McLeod Ganj, where they said the group wanted to meet the Dalai Lama.
Upset over this attitude of the team, the CORD director expressed her frustration and anger by terming them as tourists in front of them. “The committee was formed to study issues related to rural development, but if they do not have time to do that, then why are they part of it and wasting taxpayers’ precious money on these kind of private leisure visits of theirs. Our organization does not need them and we are doing good work without their support and will continue to do so. But what hurts the most is the way they totally ignored our work and hurriedly left without even having a glimpse of real rural development,” she said. Also upset were participants who came for cultural performances and volunteers who came to share their experiences about work done by them in their field.
The MPs included Ganga Charan Rajput, Usha Verma, Maya Singh, Ms Anusuia, Bhagwati Singh and Sanjay Motre.
Ashamed of their behaviour after getting a good dressing from the CORD director, an MP tried to win her over by promising that they would be back tomorrow. As if feeling offended, another MP standing behind, hurriedly added: “Are we not going to Dalhousie tomorrow?”