BANGALORE: Thirty Karnataka MLAs are heading for the Amazon rain forests to apparently understand its flora and fauna. Besides taking an expensive holiday, they hope to replicate the ecosytem in the state. That's not the only purpose of this South American junket to Argentina, Brazil and Peru. They will also "study the waterfalls in the Amazon forests and sporting activity", most likely Brazil's famed football matches. The study tour will cost the state exchequer Rs 2.25 crore. The junket is on, confirmed Congress MLA Mallikaiah V Guttedar, who heads the legislature's committee on estimates. He told TOI on Wednesday that there's nothing wrong in the fortnight-long trip. "We legislators get only one opportunity to undertake a study tour abroad in five years, whereas MPs go often. There's nothing wrong in us going on these junkets." The junket is slated some time after a brief legislature session in January. The dates are yet to be finalized, Guttedar said. The trip will cost Rs 7.5 lakh per member. "We'll visit the Amazon forests and study the waterfalls there to see how they can be replicated in Karnataka, as we have thick forests here. We'll visit Brazil to see the sporting activity there," he maintained. A reputable travel agency has drawn up the itinerary for the 15-night trip to the three Latin American countries. The MLAs will stay in deluxe hotels and will have to bear the cost of English-speaking tour guides in each of the cities. 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." During BJP's rule, when the state was reeling under a drought, 14 MLAs had gone on a junket to South America in August 2012. No study report was filed after they returned. 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 a theft or dacoity? It's our privilege as legislators," he had maintained. 30 Karnataka MLAs will take off on Amazon safari - The Times of India What will these nuts understand about ecosystem in 15days? Karnataka itself has very rich & diverse flora & fauna & there is many things to be learnt from our existing forest. We are have lost 787 Sq KM of forest in last 5 years, 67,096 hectares of encroached forest land had not been cleared as of March 2012, and there is shortage of forest officers leading to mismanagement of forests. Karnataka government has not finalized on forest policy, despite recommendations being given six years ago by the National Forest Commission, which contributed to the declining green cover Instead of taking this expensive tour to SA they should set up study group to mingle with the forest tribals & learn their traditional forest preserving method & incorporate latest surveillance methods to stop deforestation.