Put study tours to use

Our lead story yesterday — about how the mayor, standing committee chairman, leader of the house and Opposition leader are among those on a ‘study tour’ to Singapore , while the city struggles with the monsoon — must have raised few eyebrows. We know because we seem to have carried similar reports, featuring officials in similar positions, a number of times in the past.

When Shubha Raul was mayor, for instance, she attended a mayors’ conference in Turkey in 2007 and returned with nothing to show for it. She went to Israel for a similar conference a year later, returning the same way — empty-handed. In 2008, she visited the New York mayors’ conference and told the media she had learned how to convert dumping grounds into green zones and generate electricity.

That same year, she was in Australia to study the zoos there. We all know the condition of our zoo in Byculla, four years after that trip. She then went to Switzerland to study monorail and metro rail projects. One assumes the trip taught her nothing too, because we don’t have either project in our fair city yet. And yes, lest we forget, she also attended a mayoral conference in Japan, in 2009, for reasons that continue to elude us.

Her successor, Shraddha Jadhav, was in Singapore in 2010 to study — they seem to do a lot of it — that country’s reptile park and zoo. She then went to China and Geneva for the BRIC summit in 2011.

We don’t begrudge our leaders their junkets. Those invitations probably come with the job. What we do resent is the sheer lack of results. A ‘study tour’ of a system that works must, we think, lead to changes in the way we function. If we can’t see these supposed benefits, what’s the point? 

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