London: British MPs have criticised The Duke of York for hiring a private jet for his visit to an Indian slum.
One MP said that Prince Andrew had displayed “extraordinary crassness” after he was pictured disembarking from the aircraft on his way to visit the Mumbai slum.
The Dharavi area of the city, setting for the hit film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, is home to some of the world’s poorest people.
But Andrew chose to fly to Mumbai in a jet hired at taxpayers’ expense, as part of an official tour of India to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it was reported. The cost of his travel around the country has been estimated at GBP 80,000, the Telegraph reported.
Labour MP Paul Flynn blamed the prince for behaving “as if he were living in the days of the Raj”.
“Jetting into a slum on a private jet sends out a terrible message about this country,” Flynn said.
“It is an act of quite extraordinary crassness to spray money around in this way in an area where people live in such poverty.”
The royal, known as “Airmiles Andy” because of his apparent liking for lavish foreign trips, has also come under fire over claims that he turned down the option of putting up at the British High Commissioner`s residence in Delhi during the tour.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed that the costs of the Prince`s travel were being met by the taxpayer and since he was travelling to six cities in six days, the private jet was thought to be the most appropriate mode of transport.
“As with all official royal visits, this trip is sponsored and funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Travel costs are met by the sovereign grant [which has replaced the civil list],” the source said.