A group of corporators from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) flew to Istanbul, Turkey, on Thursday morning to study the bus rapid transport system (BRTS) and solid waste management process followed there.
While the corporators claimed they had paid for the trip on their own, they still drew citizen activists’ ire for wasting taxpayers’ money.
“I paid Rs 50,000 for the trip. We decided to go to Istanbul because it has one of the best BRTS in the world. No one is sponsoring us for this,” said Sandip Deshpande, group leader of MNS corporators in the BMC.
In 2013, a group of corporators had proposed a similar study trip to Istanbul, but the plan had to be dropped after receiving flak from citizen activists.
Incidentally, the same corporators had also praised the BRTS in Ahmedabad, but chose to travel to Istanbul instead. In fact, in an attempt not to let activists disrupt the plan, corporators kept the plan under wraps and left the city on Thursday morning. They are expected to be back on Monday.
“Does the city even have space to start BRTS? The corporators must pay attention to improving bus services and their maintenance instead of planning BRTS. There has been no result of any of the foreign trips taken by the corporators,” said James John, Action for Good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI).
Even if they are spending money from their own pockets, activists said the corporators must instead attend the general body meetings of the civic body.
A group of corporators had recently gone to Singapore to study its solid waste management system, but are yet to implement their learnings in Mumbai.