The ongoing Mega Fish Festival under the name of Aqua Goa gets into the shades of blatant corruption with the opposition Congress making the allegations of a non-transparent tender process favouring the particular agency while rejecting the lower quotes submitted by another agency. 

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According to the reports, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President (GPCC) Girish Chodankar has alleged that the “biased” decision of the Directorate of Fisheries to award the tender of the Aqua Goa Mega Fish Festival is an open and shut case of blatant corruption. 

The opposition leader demanded the cancellation of the Aqua Festival and set up an inquiry to find out corrupt practices allowed by the department. 

Chodankar alleged that the contract has been awarded despite another agency quoting much lower amount. “This is an open and shut case of corruption with the blessings of Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant,” he said. 

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Mr Chodankar also levelled the allegations on the Fisheries Minister Mr Philipe Neri Rodrigues saying that he “is completely immersed in a pool of corruption.”

The Congress has lodged a complaint to this effect with the Chief Secretary/Chief Vigilance Officer demanding vigilance inquiry and has asked the chief secretary to stop this event for “gross violations” of government guidelines and “irregularities” in the tender.

“The tender selection committee headed by the Director of Fisheries Dr Sharmila Monteiro comprised of four other members from the department who have no knowledge of creative designs and art. It is mandatory to have a person who is an expert and qualified in fine arts, graphic designs or architecture to evaluate creative presentations,” Chodankar said.

Chodankar also alleged that the ruling Government is out to rob the state treasury to patronise the party cadre. “The government is yet to come clean on the supply of formalin laced fish in the market, with consumers still feeling insecure to buy the fish available in the market. The Government has failed to set up a laboratory to test the fish. The BJP Government has no money to pay to the Self Help Groups, Vocational Teachers, Social Welfare Scheme beneficiaries, and contractors of various works. But the Government is spending lavishly on the so-called promotional events which ultimately turn out to be big failures,” Chodankar said.   

A three-day Aqua Goa Mega Fish Festival which is underway at the SAG ground in Panaji is the second season of the festival which was organised last year on a much smaller scale compared to this year. The above festival will be followed by the Food Festival which will be organised by the Department of Tourism in a similar venue by spending another few crores of rupees. The question here is, whether there is a need of two festivals back to back promoting almost similar things or the opposition is correct about their allegations on the Government about draining the taxpayer’s money to patronage the party cadre?  Please do leave your valuable comments on this issue.        

Source: Heraldo

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