The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) has spent Rs. 4.29 crore on air travel from April, 2001 to March, 2014, with most expenses incurred for study tours, an RTI query revealed.
MMRDA is executing developmental projects worth thousands of crores in the MMR region comprising Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Palghar and Raigad districts.
In the name of project execution, MMRDA has spent nearly Rs. 4.29 crore on air travels with a major chunk of it comprising travel for ‘study tours’ by ministers and senior officials like chief secretary, urban development secretary, and even PA’s of Ministers.
The information came to light following an RTI filed by activist Anil Galgali on June 23, 2014 with MMRDA, seeking information on expenses incurred by it on domestic and international air travel, which was responded on February 11, 2015.
Desk Officer V G Shinde provided the information prepared by the accounts department, which detailed that since April 1, 2001 to March 31, 2014, MMRDA has spent Rs. 1,42,38,431 on domestic air travel for 626 occasions like meetings, study tours or other reasons.
MMRDA has also spent Rs. 2,86,35,303 on 39 international trips for the same reasons.
These foreign jaunts comprised MMRDA officials, chief minister, state ministers, chief secretary, Urban development Secretary, Commissioner BMC GM BEST, and PA of Ministers.
The highest spending on air tickets for a single trip was Rs. 49,18,547, which was done during a study tour to Comprehensive Transport Study Programme (CTS) from November 13, 2005 to November 26, 2005 for 14 days to Malaysia, China, Canada, USA, Japan, Shanghai, Tokyo and Toronto.