It is very sad but true. The reports published in the various local dailies have brought to the light the existence of high-level corruption in the state’s Tourism Department. The recent expose of Tourism Department by the Navhind Times has resulted in bringing more skeletons out of the closet. Here is the complete report…
According to the reports published in the local daily, Rampant corruption in the department has come to the fore with revelation by deputy director of tourism Rajesh Kale that a space of 150 sq mt for setting up Goa pavilion at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, in the West Bengal capital was actually never booked by the department, while the official tender document, which was released to invite bids for appointment of an agency to handle the Kolkata-based tourism event, has clearly said so.
Space which was supposed to have cost the department Rs 36 lakh, with the tender document estimating the cost for 3-day participation in the event at Rs 33.38 lakh.
The issue of high-level corruption has been surfaced in the media after the statement of the deputy director of tourism Rajesh Kale to the media stating that the department did not book any space in the particular stadium, for erecting Goa pavilion. If that so then what about the selection of the agency on July 10 through the opening of the bids for the erection of the Goa Pavilion in the Trade Fair at Kolkatta.
Another thing that came into the light exposing the high-level corruption in the tourism department is about the participation in the trade fairs in smaller states which remains only on the papers.
A highly placed source in the department of tourism informed that annually the department plans to participate in a couple of tourism fairs in various cities around the country. “However, in reality, participation takes place in a few major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai, while involvement in such fairs at smaller places is only on paper,” he added, pointing out that the participation of the department at the Kolkata Travel and Tourism Fair may have been planned only on paper, and hence no space was booked by the department, even though it was falsely shown as 150 sq mt on the tender document.
Some stakeholders in the state tourism sector told the media that their concerns about ongoing corruption in the department of tourism are time and again proved through such events supposed to be participated by the department.
“There are instances in the past, wherein spaces have never been booked and no Goa pavilion or stalls set up at the tourism fairs, however, the department had created a picture of its participation in these events, with payments made to the selected agencies and spaces booked,” they maintained.
The corruption has been implemented in such a systematic manner that all the procedures have been followed on the papers but no physical participation have been taken into the trade fairs against which even the payments are made.
“It is interesting to note that although no actual participation of the department takes place at some of these travel fairs, all the related procedures including awarding the bids, issuing work orders, receiving post-tender financial approvals and releasing payments are carried out systematically,” stated in the report.
With the above, it has now become very clear that all these irregularities have been taken place in association with the impaneled event management agencies and the department officials.
Interestingly, the Bengaluru-based Sphere Travel Media and Exhibitions Pvt Ltd, which organizes the India International Travel Mart (IITM), is also a Category B agency in the impaneled list of the department of tourism. Therefore, this agency organizes the IITM on one hand, while bids for handling the participation of the Goa government in this event, on the other, states the report.