Patna, Sept. 13: A foot-your-bill proposition to industry honchos who would accompany a state delegation to Germany for a five-day food fair has left many red-faced.
The Telegraph has a copy of the industries department letter, which states that those accompanying industries minister Renu Kumari to Cologne for Anuga, the five-day fair for retail trade, food service and catering in October, have to pay their bills in the European country. The delegation is yet to be short-listed.
“A letter has come from the food processing directorate of the industries department. It talks about those who are part of the industry bodies, being short-listed for a trade fair in Germany. We have to fill up a response form in which details such as name, address and passport detail need to be mentioned and forwarded to the department. The letter states that those selected will have to bear the expenses of the trip,” an industrialist said, asking not to be named.
Sources said the letter has been sent to industry bodies such as Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Progress Harmony Development Chamber of Commerce and Industry and others.
“We have received the letter and talks with the state government regarding the trip is presently on. The self-payment clause is a bit strange. This is a delegation of the state government and they should pay for all who are in the trip. I don’t know under what circumstances the clause was added. If the state government wants the delegation to pay for themselves, we will have to think before agreeing to be part of the delegation,” P.K. Agarwal, the president of the Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries said.
If one looks at the flight fares, a round-trip from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (Calcutta) to Cologne Bonn Airport in a Lufthansa flight rests at Rs 75,404. This is, if one is leaving on October 5 and returning on October 9. An Air France flight for the same period would cost Rs 83,774 and the Turkish Airlines would charge around Rs 93,217. The Austrian Airlines would charge Rs 97,110 according to Makemytrip.com.
This is not the end. The five-day trip would include transportation, food and hotel expenses too.
A tour operator in Patna said: “A five-day trip to Cologne would cost around Rs 2 lakh each.”
“It is a request to the state government to honour its industrialists and delegates. The matter here is not about cost but prestige. They should respect us,” said Satyajeet Kumar, the chairman of the Progress Harmony Development Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Bihar.
Industries minister Renu Devi said she was aware of the letter and the situation.
“We are yet to decide whether to participate in the fair or not. I am aware of the situation and I have asked my department officers to alter the proposal soon,” she said.
A day’s stay in Cologne can pinch your pocket
• Breakfast: 7-10 Euros
• Lunch: 10-15 Euros
• Dinner: 10-15 Euros
• 5-Euro travel card/person
• 20 Euros
• 90 Euros
• 20-and-odd Euros for souvenirs and gifts for family and friends
1 Euro = Rs 84.07 as on September 13