Government-owned Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), the implementing agency for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro-3 underground corridor, has maintained no records on the number of foreign visits made
Government-owned Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), the implementing agency for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro-3 underground corridor, has maintained no records on the number of foreign visits made by MMRC officials and the expenses incurred on study tours to foreign countries since the corporation’s inception in 2008 up to 2014, reveals data accessed by The Asian Age via a Right To Information (RTI) application.
The RTI data reveals that around eight MMRC officials, including managing director Ashwini Bhide, have visited 10 foreign countries like the US, Barcelona, Rome, Madrid and Singapore for study purposes between January 2015 and May 2016.
The application failed to furnish details on foreign trip details prior to January 2015. P.D. Yerkuntwar, public information officer (PIO), MMRC, directed that data prior to January 2015 should be obtained from the accounts section of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) as both were functioning in the same office till 2014. However, when this correspondent sought to obtain the information from the public information officer (PIO) of MMRDA’s accounts section, the latter said it was not available with MMRDA, and it had provided MMRC with all the information when the latter shifted into the new office.
RTI activists have slammed the MMRC for not having information on expenses incurred at the cost of taxpayer’s money.
RTI activist Anil Galgali said, “How is it possible that an organisation does not have information on the expenses it made at the cost of taxpayer’s money Strict action should be taken against officers for not maintaining crucial records on foreign trips.
Furthermore, Mr Yerkuntwar, said, “We do not have information on the details of study tours to foreign nations and if the MMRDA also does not have the same, she will have to check as to who has the information maintained.”
The RTI data reveals that MMRC spent around Rs 29,36,494 lakh from January 2015 up to May 2016, inclusive of daily allowances, travel allowances, hotel expenses and other expenses on study tours to 10 foreign nations.
The RTI data further states that the purpose of the visit is mainly for technical assistance on Metro-3 project, including visiting foreign countries for tunnel ventilation system, international experiences with urban rail funding and the World Tunnel Congress.
The locales visited between January 2015 and May 2016 are Singapore, Bangkok, London, Perth, Kuala Lumpur, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Hong Kong and the USA.