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.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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