29 May 2017 | Last updated 02:31 PM


 
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Beacons removed, but how come foreign tours continue?
Rohit Chandavarkar | Saturday, 6 May 2017 AT 12:17 AM IST
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When Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the initiative a few months ago to make changes in the Motor Vehicle Act of the country to ensure that red beacons are removed from ministers’ cars, the action was applauded by lakhs of citizens, who thought that this was a step in the right direction towards getting rid of the VIP culture in the country.

But in BJP-ruled Maharashtra, where the party has 123 MLAs in the assembly, the MLAs have decided to take super VIP benefits such as free foreign tours at tax payer’s cost. This in letter and spirit is a blatant defiance of Modi’s idea of removal of VIP culture.

While Maharashtra is reeling under tremendous agrarian crisis, and issues such as newly imposed power cuts in rural Maharashtra and garbage pile up in urban parts of the State are at the centre of national media’s focus, some ministers and legislatures of the State have chosen to go on a so called ‘study tour’ to Australia and New Zealand!

The so called ‘study tour’ has drawn huge flak and former chief minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan has gone to the extent of writing a letter to the Prime Minister demanding that the Maharashtra ministers and legislators be called back from their tour to attend to urgent issues the State has been facing.

This is not the first study tour by any politician. There have been dozens of such tours in the past decades. The question is what have these study tours achieved? Are they just not paid holidays for the legislatures at the cost of the tax payers of the state? So many foreign tours by MLAs or municipal corporators have taken place but that has never resulted in any change or improvement in the way development projects are implemented.

The administration has not changed or improved after bureaucrats have been sent countless times on study tours to foreign countries. The obvious conclusion is that these tours are only a waste of tax payer’s money.  

The opposition has found fodder in the situation as national media shouts about how ministers are abroad while garbage is piling up in Pune. Prithviraj Chavan says Pune’s Guardian Minister Girish Bapat should be immediately called back to handle the garbage crisis.

The garbage management is becoming a big image management crisis for the ruling party. The BJP leadership has to take note of this as soon as possible and act because people have elected them with a lot of trust and expectation.

While Maharashtra is reeling under tremendous agrarian crisis, and issues such as newly imposed power cuts in rural Maharashtra and garbage pile-up in urban parts of the state are at the centre of national media’s focus, some ministers and legislatures of the State have chosen to go on a so called ‘study tour’ to Australia and New Zealand.. Have any such tours resulted in any benefit for the public in the past..

- ROHIT CHANDAVARKAR
 
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