Goa opposition alleges beach cleaning scam, minister disagrees

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Panaji, May 5 (IANS) An opposition legislator has complained to the Lokayukta that Goa Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar was involved in a Rs.14 crore scam in awarding beach cleaning contracts to private agencies, a charge the minister has denied.

In his complaint filed on Wednesday before the Lokayukta P.K. Mishra, Independent legislator Rohan Khaunte said kickbacks were received by Parulekar for awarding tenders for cleaning up Goa beaches in North and South Goa districts that attract nearly four million tourists every year.

“The complaint is based from documents obtained under RTI. The scam is clear. The terms of the tenders were manipulated to suit the companies which eventually won the tender,” Khaunte alleged.

Interestingly, the complaint also names 39 witnesses which includes top bureaucratic and political functionaries as witnesses, which includes Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, as Khaunte claims Parrikar was the chief minister at the time the contract was awarded.

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Parulekar, however, denied the allegation claiming the complaint was a result of Khaunte’s “political frustration”.

“The beach cleaning tender was done in a most transparent manner and due process was followed to select the right agency to undertake this mammoth task. The tendering process was scrutinised by various departments which included finance and law. The lowest bidder was selected to give professional services,” Parulekar told IANS on Thursday.

“The results of which are evident from the fact that the beaches of Goa are now cleaner and more beautiful. This has further resulted in Goa bagging several awards and recognition for its clean beaches in the last one year which includes TripAdvisor’s Best Beach Awards in Asia and India where Goa received top honours,” Parulekar said.

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