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Two Goa ministers may have taken bribe, says Manohar Parrikar

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Panaji: Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said two ministers from Goa, including the then public works department minister, may have accepted bribes from a global consultancy firm for a water developmental project in Goa in 2010.

File Photo.
File Photo.

The firm has since admitted to a US government agency to paying a bribe of nearly one million dollars or about Rs.6.3 crore.

“The project was related to Japan International Cooperation Agency. Therefore, the then PWD minister may be involved; and since the project also deals with financial approval, there is likelihood of another minister’s involvement,” Parrikar said while addressing a meeting of party workers in Margao, 35 km from Panaji.

The then PWD minister Churchill Alemao has refused to comment on the allegations, saying he has “no idea what statement the media is quoting”.

Portions of the US government’s Justice Department documents, quoted in the national media, said two top officials of international consultancy firm Louis Berger allegedly offered a bribe of $976,630 to an Indian minister and government officials in 2010 to secure the five-year Goa Water Supply and Sewerage Project.

The documents, according to the same media reports, claim the two company officials pleaded guilty to paying the bribe.

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Saturday demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the bribery allegations and said he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this.

(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)