Mayor looks to Korea for solution to Mumbai's water woes

Mayor Sunil Prabhu, who recently returned from an official tour to Singapore, has once again received an invitation to attend a conference in Korea next month.

Going with the flow: Mayor Sunil Prabhu during his trip to Singapore in July. File pic

This however, is not going down well with some, who see it as a waste of taxpayers’ money, besides being a joyride for Prabhu and leaders of political parties who are preparing for the visit. Also, this will be the mayor’s second international tour in a span of three months if all goes well.

This trip comes at a time when the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning cloud seeding experiments, as the water situation has not improved much with the city witnessing low rainfall.

Prabhu received an invitation to attend the Water Expo Conference Korea 2012 and the 7th World Water Forum from September 12 to 14 to be held at Daegu city.

The mayor and leaders from the Congress, NCP, BJP and the Samajwadi Party attended a conference in Singapore in the first week of July, which was organised by the Mayor Forum 2012 to mark International Water Week.

The mayor’s plan has attracted criticism from NGOs, and G R Vora, member of citizen federation, said, “It is totally unnecessary for them to go on a foreign tour to find solutions to our water problems. They should ensure that leaks are plugged, illegal connections are curbed and forestation drives are conducted to ensure better rainfall.”

Vora added that if they were incapable of solving the water problem, then they have no right to be in their respective posts. Apart from members of the ruling party planning to go to Korea for the conference, members of opposition parties have also decided to tag along with the mayor.

“It will benefit the city and me personally to see how foreign countries manage water related issues,” said Dnyaraj Nikam, congress corporator and opposition leader in the BMC.

He added that he is prepared to bear the expenses of his tour to avoid any controversy. Samajwadi Party leader Rais Shaikh also decided to accompany Prabhu. “I will go with the mayor because he has invited us. We will bear our own expenses,” Shaikh said.

Except for the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, no other political party has opposed the tour. MNS leader Dilip Lande, who refuses to make the trip, said, “The city has not benefited from these study tours. These trips are only for enjoyment and nothing else.”

The proposal sent to the civic administration for approval, is still pending with the municipal commissioner and Prabhu is yet to get the green signal from his party.

“I am waiting for sanction by my party. I will go if my party leader permits,” Prabhu said. Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte was unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts.  

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