Tourism Minister Manohar ‘Babu’ Ajgaonkar facing allegations levelled against his department, including hike of Rs 30 crore in the tender for scientific management and disposal of garbage along the Goan beaches, as compared to the earlier tender, told the state legislative assembly that a new tender has been floated for beach cleaning and M/s Karnataka Commercial and Industrial Pvt Ltd is the lowest bidder for this tender.
Ajgaonkar also stated that five bids were received for beach cleaning work, which had qualified in the technical bids and hence the evaluation committee opened the financial bid on June 20, 2019.
He assured the House that the work order would be issued once the Goa Wage Board clearance is obtained for the same.
Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, who raised a related question during the Question Hour, alleged that the department has hiked the new tender by Rs 30 crore as compared to the earlier tender which was worth only Rs 9 crore.
The Tourism Minister stated that the current work of beach cleaning was given to M/s Drishti Lifesaving Pvt Ltd, for a period of 106 days with effect from December 16, 2016 to March 31, 2017, after obtaining technical sanction from public works department and approval of finance department under GFR-184. He also admitted that the said contract was renewed 9 times between April 1, 2017 and July 15, 2019.
Ajgaonkar however did not provide information as to who would take up the beach cleaning work from July 16, 2019 onwards. Lourenco also alleged that Drishti Lifesaving Pvt Ltd was given the work by taking technical sanction for only 106 days, however the department of tourism renewed its contract nine times. He further wanted to know if any bank guarantee was taken from this agency to which Ajgaonkar could not answer.
Just as the Tourism Minister was cornered by Lourenco and the Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai over various technical aspects with regards to the beach cleaning work, and over the issue of tourism department’s competence to monitor this work, he was unable to provide satisfactory answers to the queries. Sardesai also wanted to find out as to whether the tourism department or the newly-formed department of waste management would handle the garbage management of entire Goa, including beaches, or not.