Tourism dept lacks expertise to evaluate creative designs

NT NETWORK

Panaji

Following the discrepancy pointed out by ‘The Navhind
Times’ as regards the bids to be opened by the department of tourism on July
10, for selecting an agency for designing and erecting Goa pavilion in Kolkata,
for the 3-day Travel and Tourism Fair, the department on Wednesday was forced
to withdraw its participation from the particular event.

The department of tourism had booked 150 sq mt of space
at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, in Kolkata. However, the state will now not
participate in the Kolkata event.

Meanwhile, the department of tourism opened bids
Wednesday evening, for selecting agencies from Category A of its empanelled
list, to handle tourism fairs at nine other places around the country, including
Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur. The selection for Category B agencies was also done
today, for handling various domestic events of the department of tourism.

It may be recalled that this daily had raised queries as
to how the selected agency could design and erect Goa pavilion in Kolkata,
besides obtain financial approval and work order within 24 hours, as the bid
was to be awarded to the agency on July 10 and the Kolkata event inaugurated on
July 12.

Incidentally, even though the department of tourism has decided
to stay away from the Kolkata event, another irregularity has come up about the
estimates prepared for other nine tourism fairs, and for which the department
has awarded bids to the agencies on July 10.

Whenever the public works department floats tenders for
its works, the related estimates are prepared as per the guidelines in the
Central Public Works Department (CPWD) manual. In contrast, all the

estimates linked to the tenders of the department of
tourism are prepared minus any guidelines.

It is also interesting to note that since most of the
tenders of the department of tourism have creativity – an abstract entity – as
their integral part, the related estimates are vague and without any basis.
Furthermore, the department officials have no expertise in such matters, and
the state-level marketing and promotion committee, which is supposed to take
the decisions, is clearly shying away from the same.

Although the tender document for tourism fairs mentions
that three different designs are to be submitted for approval from the
department of tourism, it is noticed that such practice is never followed, and
none of the department officials have the requisite qualification to evaluate
such creative designs.

It may also be noted that the Entertainment Society of
Goa, the department of information and publicity, and the department of art and
culture have separate committees comprising of experts from respective fields,
to evaluate and select such creative designs.

It has been noticed that most of the times, the estimates
related to tenders of the department of tourism are cleared without their
assessment by the designers, planners and architects, especially when designs
are involved in the same.

It is surprising to observe that these ambiguous
estimates of the department of tourism get approval from the finance
department, which has now invited the personal intervention of Chief Minister
Pramod Sawant, who holds the finance portfolio.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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