The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is prepared to go to great lengths to solve Mumbai's waterlogging problems. In fact, corporators are planning to travel all the way to the Andaman and Nicobar islands, to study its drainage system.
Their logic is unassailable: Mumbai, like Andaman and Nicobar, is an island, and prone to tsunamis and floods.
The proposal is the brainchild of standing committee chairman Yashodhar Phanse and leader of the house Trushna Vishwasrao, both from Shiv Sena.
“The drainage systems in the Andaman and Nicobar islands must be studied and understood so that we can replicate it here. We must learn the equipment and system they have in place to manage situations like tsunamis,” said Phanse.
Vishwasrao said they expect the trip to be helpful in many ways. “The trip is likely in November. It will help us learn many things,” he said.
Opposition parties and citizen activists are not impressed.
“There is too much corruption in the system, which needs to be curbed first. With basic requirements absent, foreign tours will not help the city,” said Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh.
Activists have similar views. “We pay taxes with our hard-earned money, but instead of providing us basic services, the elected representatives aim for fancy projects and plan foreign trips,” said Nikhil Desai, citizen activist from Matunga.
This is not the first time the BMC has chosen to look far for inspiration. The lessons learnt are yet to be implemented, but that has not deterred it from defending the trips.
“We went to Turkey to study the BRTS, but it is not possible in Mumbai because of lack of space. In Singapore trip, we learnt about solid waste management and waste-to-energy plants, which will be implemented. There is always something to learn from these tours,” said Phanse.
In the past, your money financed these tours. On some occasions, after a controversy erupted, the corporators claimed they spent their own money. Even civic contractors sponsored a study tour. For the proposed trip, said Sena leaders, no budget has been fixed. They said taxpayers’ money will not be used, but gave no details.
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