Barely 6 months after 3-nation tour, Maharashtra legislators head to China
While Opposition is holding protests on the difficulties faced by farmers, agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar is on the tourmumbai Updated: Jan 24, 2018 00:10 IST
Barely six months after the three-nation tour of Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, which stirred controversy, a 14-member delegation of Maharashtra legislators is on an eight-day tour of China. While the opposition parties are holding protest rallies on the difficulties faced by farmers and farmer suicides are on the rise, agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar is on the tour, which is sponsored by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), a forum under Maharashtra legislature.
A delegation of all-party legislators from both the houses, headed by the legislative council chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar left for a eight-day tour of Beijing, Shanghai, Macau, Hong Kong and Sichuan on January 17. The delegation, which is expected to visit parliamentary bodies and committees of various provinces of China, will sign memorandums of understanding with appropriate authorities. It has already visited Special Economic Zones in Macau and also met the Indian diaspora in these cities.
Besides chairman Nimbalkar and minister Fundkar, other participants of the tour are deputy chairman Manikrao Thakre, assembly speaker Haribhau Bagde, whips Sharad Ranpise, Neelam Gorhe, Sanjay Dutt, legislators Anil Parab and Anant Kalse, principal secretary, state legislature and three officers on special duties (OSD) to presiding officers. Ranpise and Dutt are being accompanied by their wives, while Gorhe and Parab returned to Mumbai to attend the National Executive of their party, Shiv Sena, on Wednesday.
“The tour was kept a secret until the delegation left for China. Two-thirds of the expenditure has been borne by the CPA from the interest incurred on the corpus of Rs1 crore deposited by the state government about 17 years ago. The companions accompanying the legislators are bearing their expenditures on their own, while the expenditure on OSDs will be entirely borne by the CPA,” said an official from Mantralaya on the condition of anonymity. “Many of the legislators were also part of the three-nation tour in May last month. Some of the legislators have been accommodated as they are retiring in the next six months.”
The CPA is expected to incur a cost of about Rs20-25 lakh towards the tour, which is being managed by a leading Mumbai-based operator. According to sources, the delegation has not submitted the report of its last tour to Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, which was held after a gap of almost eight years.
As per the official itinerary, the delegation is to interact with Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conferences (CPPCC) at provincial level, meet with government officials to study the technology and developments in the field of infrastructure and agriculture for the sharing of knowledge, and visit industrial units and programmes being run by the Indian diaspora.
Sena leader Gorhe said the tour would be fruitful. “The Legislative Council signed MoUs with its Chinese counterpart in Shanghai for the exchange of technology in the industrial and tourism sectors. We held a fruitful discussion with the office-bearers of the CPPCC in Beijing discussing labour reforms, infrastructure and technology. We invited industrialists of Indian origin to participate in the ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ summit to be held next month. During an interactive session we also discussed the legal provision of capital punishment for rape and domestic violence. I think the tour is going to be very fruitful,” she said.