Goa Opposition cries foul over beach cleaning drive

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Panaji, March 14 (IANS) The first day proceedings of Goa assembly’s budget session got off to a stormy start on Monday, with the Opposition accusing the state tourism ministry of a beach cleaning contract scam.

The ruckus forced the Speaker to adjourn the proceedings twice, after opposition legislators rushed near the well of the House.

Opposition legislators Rohan Khaunte and Vijai Sardesai, both independents, accused Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar of favouritism in awarding of mechanized beach cleaning contracts to dubious companies.

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, speaking on behalf of Parulekar, said there was no illegality in awarding the mechanized beach cleaning work.

Khaunte said the beach cleaning fees had risen from Rs.1.86 crore to Rs.14.56 crore in the last five years and that the same work had been allotted to the same individuals heading different companies in North Goa and South Goa districts.

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He demanded a probe into the processes followed for allotment of beach cleaning contracts, a controversy which has been raging for several months now.

Goa is one of the top beach tourism destinations in the country, but of late with tourist footfalls rising to nearly four million, dirt and garbage strewn on the beaches has become a common sight.

It was one of the reasons why the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government had initiated a mechanized beach cleaning drive.

Responding to the allegations, Parsekar denied allegations of corruption in awarding the contracts.

“There is no question of commission involved. Some people are prone to think only on those lines,” Parsekar said.

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