Normally it is the general practice to go on the foreign trips after getting the ministerial berths. Everybody does that. If they are in opposition, they demand the explanation but if they are from ruling party, they blame the opposition for doing the same. Something similar seems to have happened in this case too. Please read here….
The first day of assembly session was Parulekar’s day for answering all the charges leveled on him by the opposition. According to the opposition Parulekar and his subordinates have made many foreign trips spending around 19 crore rupees from the taxpayers money and with zero results. The leader of the opposition Shri Pratap Singh Rane called Parulekar an incompetent minister on the floor. Other opposition legislatures who took on him were Digamber Kamat, Mauvin Godinho, Mickey Pacheco, Rohan Khaunte and Micheal Lobo. The surprising part in this entire story is the shooting of criticism on the minister from its own party colleagues.
The tourism minister did not have any satisfactory explanations ready to counter the allegations accept comparing the amount vis-à-vis rate of dollars then and now. The first question he faced was “How many tourists arrived in the state after they’re highly expensive promotions abroad?” but tourism could minister could not provide satisfactory answers to the questions raised by the opposition and finally, Mauvin Godinho (the outgoing speaker) had to warn him indirectly to do homework before coming to the assembly. At a time, Parulekar had to face the embarrassments from its own party man.
Out of all the issues raised on the floor, the issue of foreign trips was the major issue which Parulekar had to face today. Digamber Kamat, the former CM of Goa attacked the present tourism minister over the accountability of the money spent on the foreign trips, although initially Parulekar tries to show the ignorance over the issue but Kamat compelled him to table the account in front of the house. Parulekar was speechless on the targeted question of Kamat asking him “How many foreign tourists arrived in Goa after the spending of Rs. 22 Crore by tourism minister over the foreign junket (an extravagant trip or celebration, in particular, one enjoyed by government officials at public expense).
Surprisingly, instead of giving the satisfactory answer to the question raised by the opposition, Parulekar became defensive and said that “His government spent the same amount of money which was earlier spent by the Congress government during the regime of Digamber Kamat. He did not stop here. He went one step ahead saying that “Keeping in mind the rate of dollars which has gone up now to Rs. 60 compared to then Rs. 40 “WE HAVE SPENT LESSER THAN YOU HAD SPENT” said the tourism minister.
Parulekar also had to face the former tourism minister Mickey Pacheco’s attack over the issue of foreign junkets. Pacheco countered Parulekar over the figure of foreign tourist arrivals into the state to which Parulekar could not provide the satisfactory answers. When asked by Pacheo as from where he (Parulekar) procured the figure of tourists arrivals in the state, he claimed that it was obtained from the AAI (Airport Authority of India) but he could not explain how AAI came to the conclusion on that figure. “From where do you get this figure and what kind of process is used to get it,” demanded Pacheco. “It has been provided by the Airport Authority of India and it is been based on the presumptions that 90% air passengers are tourists,” said Parulekar.
The party colleague of Parulekar, Micheal Fernandes did not remain behind in the quizzing of the tourism minister. Micheal asked him about the problems faced by the passengers at the airport on arrival and what steps have been taken by the tourism minister to settle that, Parulekar said that he is coordinating with the AAI and Defence Ministry over the issue but he could not tell about the implementations done in this regards.
The next in the line was Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte who demanded the explanation on the beach cleaning process which was taken over by the tourism department and ultimately turned into the alleged scam. Rohan asked him (Parulekar) “What is the status of the issue of beach scam and what action the minister has taken till date” somehow Parulekar could not satisfy the queries of Khaunte and the discussion heated up. Here the chief minister intervened into the matter and said that Khaunte is leveling unnecessary charges on tourism minister and he should restrain from doing the same.
Rohan had alleged that, the beach cleaning contract was given to two contractors whose directors and the offices are same and that they have claimed the money without doing any work. “They have not done their job of cleaning, segregating, composting and garbage lifting properly but have claimed the money for the job,” Rohan said. Finally, Parulekar succumbs to the allegations and agreed that there were some lapses in the work done by the contractors and the department deducted Rs. 1.70 crore from their total amount and paid only Rs. 4.15 crore. Khaunte claimed that timely intervention has saved the huge government funds.
This time, it looks like the assembly season is going to be more interesting since the opposition seems to have to awaken from the long deep sleep. They are targeting the proper issues which are of the major concern at the moment. With the government having the loan of more than 18 crores and same time ministers are taking the joy rides on the public’s cost it is the time high time. Please do leave your comments and suggestions on this issue here.
Source: Various Sources