Shiv Sena corporators under fire for Andaman tour to study drainage system

Mumbai: A tour undertaken by some Shiv Sena corporators of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to study drainage system of Andaman Islands has come under severe criticism from opposition which has dubbed the exercise as "absolute wastage" of tax payers' money.

While corporators from all parties were invited for the five-day itinerary, the members of the Congress and NCP backed off anticipating adverse public reaction ahead of the MCGM polls slated for next year. However, 12 Sena corporators left for Andaman yesterday undeterred.

Interestingly, the BJP, Sena's alliance partner in MCGM, too cancelled their participation citing the visit of Union minister Sushma Swaraj here tomorrow. The Leader of Opposition in MCGM, which has been ruled by
the Sena-led saffron combine for over two decades, Devendra Amberkar slammed Sena saying the exercise is a "total wastage" of tax payers' money.

"MCGM is already mired in several scams including de-silting work, road projects and most of the budget is unutilised. But, instead of paying heed to correct these unwarranted happenings, the MCGM corporators are spending tax payers's money which is additional wastage of public money," the Congress leader said.

Most of the Sena corporators, including city Mayor Snehal Ambekar, who have embarked on the tour are members of the Standing Committee. According to an MCGM official, the estimated expenditure of Rs 40 lakh for the tour would be borne by the civic body. He, however, did not term the expenditure as any misuse of public money.

"Such educational tours are part and parcel of a municipal corporation. When they (corporators) will return, they will produce the blueprint of the development of the municipality, as they have always done," the official said. BJP group leader in MCGM, Manoj Kotak also sought to downplay the issue.

"I hope when they (corporators) would return from the tour, they would submit proper and actionable report, that would benefit the city," he said.

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