According to Right to Information (RTI) activists, the special General Body meeting called to discuss the city’s Developmental Plan (DP) is likely to be deferred as Mayor, Deputy Mayor and other officials are enjoying their US trip while a comprehensive study for the DP, which was to be done before the meeting, is yet to be completed. The activists alleged that the DP was pending for the last 20 years due to lack of interest exhibited by the civic administration and the elected representatives.
While uncertainty shrouds the scheduled meeting, the protocol officer of PMC is unaware about the foreign tour the 10 delegates, including Mayor Vaishali Bankar and Deputy Mayor Deepak Mankar among other representatives of the house, are on in San Jose to study development projects.
Protocol Officer Yogita Bhosale said neither was she informed about the tour, nor is she aware of their date of return. Sources said the 10-member team is expected to return today. The PMC is the only municipal corporation in the country that created the post of protocol officer in 2010.
The job of the protocol officer is to guide the mayor and other elected representatives when they participate in an event in the country or go on a study tour outside the country. But it seems that PMC officials were least interested in informing Bhosale about the foreign tour that kicked off on November 16. “Officially, I didn’t know about this tour. Mayor’s personal assistant was looking after the entire arrangement,” Bhosale said.
As per an agreement signed between the PMC and government authorities in San Jose, delegates from the civic body were invited to visit and study various development projects. Considering the controversy in the past regarding PMC money being used by corporators for foreign tours, the delegates funded their own tour.
Commenting on the issue, RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar said, “Although the tour’s expenditure was borne by the delegates, the invitation to visit these two places to study development projects and plan similar projects in the city was given to the representatives of the municipal corporation. Therefore it was necessary to inform the protocol officer about the tour.”
Another RTI activist Vivek Velankar said it was not necessary to create this special post of protocol officer, as there was no use of this post in daily course of administration. “If the PMC created such a post, the delegates on the study tour should have informed the protocol officer in advance,” Velankar said.