It appears that ‘study tours’ for corporators is the order of the day at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). While about 36 corporators from the Women and Child Welfare Committee toured Kerala in January, another 26 from the Education Committee and 36 from the Health Committee would be following suit. Not far behind are 26 corporators from the Improvements Committee, who would be visiting Gujarat to understand and learn developmental work.
The civic body had spent Rs 8 lakh on the study tour to Kerala it had organised for the Women and Child Welfare Committee. A similar tour has been planned for the Education Committee, the Health Committee and the Improvements Committee. A senior civic officer from the Municipal Secretary Department said, “We have received proposals for organising study tours, but the exact dates are yet to be confirmed.
While the Education Committee would be flying tentatively on February 25, the Improvement Committee would be flying some time in the first week of March. Members of the Health Committee would be flying only in April. The approximate cost for each of these tours would be anywhere between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 8 lakh.”
Condemning the Improvements Committee’s visit to Gujarat, Samajwadi Party said the real reason behind organising this visit was to meet Narendra Modi. The party asked its members to boycott the tour. Congress’s group leader said there was no need to visit Ahmedabad or any other municipal corporation in Gujarat, as none of the civic bodies were better than BMC.
Samajwadi Party Group Leader Rais Shaikh said, “We have asked our corporators not to participate in the Gujarat tour, which is a waste of money. They are not going for any learning purpose but for Modi darshan, which we don’t want to be a part of.” Congress Group Leader Dnyanraj Nikam said, “There is no need for the Improvements Committee to visit Gujarat, as our corporation is 10 times better developed than theirs.”
Study tour funding
Committees going on study tours first need an approval from Group leaders. Once the Group leaders give a clearance, the respective committee can organise the tour. The three committees would be travelling via airways and the civic body would be paying for their tickets. While the BMC would be paying for the five-star accommodation, food expenses would be borne by the corporation the particular committee would be visiting.