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Cong: Ajgaonkar connived with top BJP officials to commit beach-cleaning scam

NT NETWORK

Panaji

Demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry as recommended by Goa Lokayukta into the alleged irregularities in the beach cleaning contract of the department of tourism, the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) on Monday alleged that the Minister for Tourism Manohar ‘Babu’ Ajgaonkar as well as some top officials of the Bharatiya Janata Party are directly involved in the related corruption, and the said matter is a “open and shut case.”

Maintaining that the scam in the beach cleaning contract involves M/s Drishti Lifesaving Pvt Ltd, which has been awarded the contract under GFR-184 followed by 9 illegal renewals, as well as made payments by violating all rules and regulations, including absence of approvals from the department of finance, the GPCC stated that this particular agency was also entrusted with the task of providing beach safety and lifeguard services, in which it has miserably failed.  Incidentally, the beach cleaning and beach safety contracts expired on July 15 and July 30, 2019, respectively.  Addressing a press conference at the Congress House, GPCC president Girish Chodankar said that the department of tourism should immediately stop giving more extensions in beach cleaning work to M/S Drishti Lifesaving Pvt Ltd and award the same to Goans.

“In fact, the Goan agencies should be entrusted with this work, since in the past, as limited amount as Rs 3 crore was annually required for the beach cleaning work by Goans, in comparison to Rs 2.62 crore per 106 days, totalling to a whopping Rs 26.20 crore to M/S Drishti Lifesaving Pvt Ltd, for the entire period of the contract,” he observed.

Speaking further, Chodankar said that the new proposal of the department of tourism to award the beach cleaning work to M/s Karnataka Commercial and Industrial Pvt Ltd also smells of another scam, since M/s Darashaw Consultants, which has prepared Rs 38 crore estimate for the same, is a firm incompetent to prepare such estimates.

“The department of tourism should come out with the information as to whether it has disposed the garbage collected from the beaches on its own or sent it to the solid waste management plant at Saligao,” he demanded, questioning, “And if the collected garbage was sent to the Saligao plant then was the Saligao plant paid towards the same.”

Chodankar also pointed out that many of the judges from various courts, under the Goa State Legal Services Authority had collected 75 bags of garbage, from the Miramar Beach on August 12, 2018, which indicated that M/S Drishti Lifesaving Pvt Ltd was not doing its garbage collection job properly. “The work carried out by this agency was not worth the money paid to it,” he noted. 

“The beach safety and lifeguard service contract is another scam in which the government paid an annual amount of Rs 28.30 crore to this agency, totalling Rs 141.50 crore for the last five years,” the GPCC president
stated.

On a parting note, Chodankar said that all the available documents, including the written replies provided by the department of tourism to the state legislative assembly, during its recently concluded Monsoon session, fully substantiate his allegations so as to send the concerned persons including the Minister for Tourism, to jail. 

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