Roads and pavements. That is what the corporators of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) want to study in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, this winter.This is not the only destination where the choice and purpose is bizarre. Exotic locales in Jammu & Kashmir and Kerala too come under the ‘study tour’ list.While in Kashmir they will study gardens and markets, in Kochi in Kerala, they will study parks and parking system. And all this at the cost of public money.Over half of the BMC corporators, out of 227, will be on tour this month onwards. The ‘gift’ to civic panels, to go for a picnic of sorts, was approved at the civic group leaders’ meeting last week.Officials said though BMC panels embark on study tours often, this was the biggest junket for corporators in recent times. Each trip costs around Rs.10 lakh and the BMC could end up spending around Rs.1 crore on all the trips put together.Not just the corporators. Officials will also undetake such trips. While the BMC’s improvements committee will head to Jammu, the education committee members are planning a Dehradun visit and the health committee is heading to Sikkim.Only last month, civic group leaders had gone on a study tour to Andaman & Nicobar Islands. However, with the dates clashing with the legislative council polls, many opted out.Last year, the improvements panel had visited Jammu and is now set for yet another tour to the same destination. The civic standing committee too is heading to the Andamans. The islands have now emerged as favourite destination for corporators.”With all the committees put together, there will be over 100 corporators, which is almost half the strength of the civic council. The tours have been approved by the group leaders and there is nothing the BMC can do,” the official added.Defending the tours, a senior BJP corporator said, “We chose the destinations after discussing it with corporators and officials. We will study the various aspects and planning and execution of civic works and try to implement them in Mumbai after the tour.”Samajwadi Party group leader Raish Shaikh said he had opted out of the Standing Committee’s visit to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. “I am not against study tours but tours should have some objective and result,” Shaikh said.Notice of motionShiv Sena corporator Avkash Jadhav has hit out at the decision on study tours at the expense of public money. “It should not become a holiday. The BMC should make it mandatory for corporators to submit a report after their visit. If not, they must not be allowed again,” said Jadhav, a history professor at St.Xavier’s College, adding he has moved a notice of motion in this regard.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Original article:

Winter getaways for BMC corporators