Andaman 'study' tour: A slice of paradise for our ministers

| Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 10:20
First Published |
 Will netas pay India back?
Monsoon in Mumbai heralds an unexpected inundation of rainwater seeping in through every gulley and major routes in the metropolitan city. Clogged sewage, life-threatening potholes, and a poor drainage system are some of the complications that see the city through its tough ordeal with monsoon. 
In order to bring more creative and technical solutions to the city's drainage system, Mumbai's BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) has sent 27 of its members to the Andaman Islands to ‘study’ the workings of the island's effective drainage system.
But the trip has been nothing short of controversies. The netas have been seen splurging public money on personal amenities and luxurious hospitalities that the Andaman Islands have to offer. Instead of attending conferences pertaining to the improvement of the city's drainage facilities, the ministers have conducted tours around Andaman for the larger spell of their 'study-tour' duration.
The ministers have the following included in their Andaman sojourn — light and sound show at night, sightseeing at the Cellular Jail, luxury buses to ferry them through the islands and a visit to Havelock Island among other things.
BJP leader, Subramanian Swamy, tried to justify the thrift-handling of the state-sponsored study by saying, "At least they're not going abroad. Let them have Bharat Darshan; let them roam around the country. And studying the drainage system of Andaman, might be a profitable exercise."
To alleviate the underground and the environmental situation of the city, steps that are needed to be taken revolve majorly around effective cleansing:
1. Potholes in the tarmac of the city's major route prove disastrous for drivers. The number of potholes in the city must see a drastic reduction.
2. Mumbai needs more green spaces which will not pose a threat for receding waters and continuing downpours.
3. Pavements around the city should be un-encroachable so that traffic congestion around the monsoon season is alleviated.
The expenditure of the study tour will be Rs 14 lakh which will cover the ministers' availing lodging facilities in five-star hotels. The ministers have also planned a trip to Cochi which might, according to sources, extend up towards Sikkim.
Asked to speak about this expensive sojourn, Manoj Kotak, BJP corporator, said, "Standing committee decided that they will go to the Andaman and Nicobar for studying road-related issues and issues related to the drainage system. We'll try to learn from the seniors."
The major reason, it is being said, that the study-tour to Andaman was initiated was because the BMC claimed that the drainage system of Andaman is similar to that of Mumbai. Though this state-sanctioned tour has been met with few political boycotts, the official approval for this tour was unhindered.
After this massive public outrage over public-money being splurged under the guise of comparative studying, the ministers were in a dilemma today as they had planned to scour two major tourist destinations in the island. As of now, the ministers have shunned the tour for fear of being criticised again.
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