PANAJI: The Congress on Monday accused the state government of indulging in and profiting from large scale corruption and accused the government of a Rs 7-crore scam in the tenders for organising festivals in the state which is Mission Total Commission.
Party leader and GPCC Media Development Chairman Amarnath Panjikar pointed out how tenders floated by the Goa government for the organising of several festivals like Carnival, Shigmo, Food Festival, Spirit of Goa Festival (Wine Festival) and others showed signs that they were ‘fixed’ and with evidence of collusion between parties.
“When one pursues the tender documents it is apparent that there is ample evidence of ‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours’. The prices quoted by the parties are deliberately set in such a way to give an appearance of fair play but it is apparent that there is cartelization among the parties who ensure that everyone gets a slice of the pie through an agreement to ensure that each bidder gets his preferred tender,” Panjikar said.
“Once upon a time these traditional festivals and events were held for the genuine entertainment of people, to help preserve our culture and traditions as well as to ensure that the younger generation gains interest in these events. However, today we see that the festivals are held solely to defend the interests of ‘Mission Total Commission,” Panjikar said.
Panjikar questioned why contracts to organise Goa’s festivals are being given to outside agencies and pointed out that the tender to organise the Shigmo festivities has been given to Amex Advertising a company from Mumbai and the Spirit of Goa festival was given to Purple Advertising also from Mumbai.
“Is the government suggesting that there are no capable agencies in Goa who can organise festivals. Goa’s agencies have won prizes at the national level when Goa’s float at the Republic Day won several awards,” Panjikar said, referring to the floats by Francisco Martins.
“The tourism minister when he was in the opposition had made a host of allegations especially against then tourism minister Dilip Parulekar accusing him of a beach cleaning scam? What has happened to the scam? Now that he is the tourism minister has he done anything to take it to a logical conclusion? If not, he should apologise to Dilip Parulekar for his allegations,” Panjikar said.
“This year we had a carnival in Porvorim also, before its traditional opening on a Saturday in Panjim? Who has footed the bill to ensure that there is an official carnival in Porvorim? Are taxpayers to pay for the personal promotion of ministers in their constituencies? Was the decision to hold the carnival in Porvorim mentioned as part of the tender?” Panjikar asked.
Congress leader Elvis Gomes accused the Goa government of pushing out Goa’s traditional operators in the beach shacks and water sports business.
“Tomorrow they will open the beach shacks also to outsiders and push Goans out of this business as well like they are doing with the water sports business,” Gomes said.
Former North Goa District President Vijay Bhike hit out at the government for neglecting its core tenet of Swayampurna Goem.
“All the chief minister can talk about is Swayampurna Goem and Aatmanirbhar Bharat, because he has nothing else to show for in the last three years he has been chief minister. Yet, here we see that his claims of Swayampurna Goem is nothing but hollow words as we can see even the extremely traditional aspects of Goa and Goenkarponn are being outsourced to people from outside the state,” Bhike said.