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Centre favouring private investors, discriminating against villages: Congress MP Shantaram Naik

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

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ec.europa.eu

Panaji: Speaking about the Centre’s Smart City projects, Congress parliamentarian Shantaram Naik accused the central government of discriminating against villages, vis-a-vis the cities.

The Rajya Sabha MP said that while crores of rupees were being apportioned to ‘smart’ cities, the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY), had not been allocated a single paisa.

“The government has not motivated state government officials for the purpose of making Adarsh Gram Yojana a success and, on the contrary, Smart City projects are given favoured treatment to please private investors, specially, the foreign investors,” Naik said in a statement issued here.

Under the SAGY, launched last year, every MP can adopt one village in his/her constituency and develop it as a model village.

By Smart Cities, Naik referred to the 99 cities, named by the central government last month, as ‘smart’ urban habitats for future.

“The logic of the government of India in providing crores of rupees budget for ‘smart’ cities, but not a paisa for the SAGY is questionable,” Naik said, adding that the fate of the SAGY hangs in balance, as state government officials are clueless regarding the availability of funds.

“Earlier, the plan of the government was to develop new areas as smart cities, but the government must have realized that such cities can never be visualized in a poor country like India. The government is now resorting to the policy of developing existing cities,” he said.

In Goa, Panaji has been identified as one of the 99 smart cities, a list of which was made public by the central government on August 27.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Goa Acknowledges Drop in Tourist Arrivals

Goa is one of the top beach and nightlife destinations in the country and last year attracted more than seven million tourists, out of which half a million were foreigners

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Calvim Ferry in Goa. Goa can be
Goa has the potential to become the Venice of the East if it taps its intricate network of inland waterways for commuting. Wikimedia Commons

Tourists arrival in Goa is on decline, acknowledged Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar here on Wednesday and underlined the need to work out solutions to address the issue.

“There is a drop in tourist arrivals in Goa and it needs to be looked into seriously,” Ajgaonkar told reporters after chairing the meeting with the industry stakeholders in Panaji.

“The problems identified will be looked into jointly after taking into confidence all the tourism associations and stakeholders,” the minister said.

Travel and tourism industry stakeholders are expected to submit a comprehensive report on issues affecting tourist arrivals, an official said.

New Year Eve Party
Goa. (Wikimedia Commons)

Industry stakeholders have cried hoarse trying to draw the government’s attention to dropping tourist footfall over the past few years, and blaming the Tourism Ministry for not doing enough to promote the state.

At the meeting, industry stakeholders, led by Travel and Tourism Association of Goa president Savio Messias, urged Ajgaonkar to address the issues plaguing the industry like harassment of tourists, nuisance caused by organised begging at tourist locations, unreasonable taxi charges by local operators, and the high goods and services tax (GST) rate.

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Ajgaonkar assured that his ministry would review the marketing strategy to promote Goa as a tourism destination more efficiently.

Goa is one of the top beach and nightlife destinations in the country and last year attracted more than seven million tourists, out of which half a million were foreigners. (IANS)