Panaji, Jan 30 (PTI) Opposition members on Wednesday targeted tourism minister Manohar Ajgaonkar in the Goa Assembly over a contract to clean beaches in the state.Also Read - From TV to Mobile Phones, Locals in Bhopal Villages Get Rewards For Ensuring Cleanliness at Their Homes & Surroundings

Congress members, including Philip Neri Rodrigues, Digambar Kamat and Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, claimed that Ajgaonkar allowed a private firm Drishti Lifesaving Services Private Limited to continue the beach cleaning task for two years without issuing a tender for the work. Also Read - T20 World Cup 2021, SA vs WI: Quinton de Kock Unavailable Due to Personal Reasons; Reeza Hendricks Makes Playing 11

However, Ajgaonkar said his department had already initiated the process to appoint a new agency to clean the state’s beaches and that it will be completed soon. Also Read - LIVE SA vs WI T20 World Cup 2021 Live Cricket Score, T20 Live Match Latest Updates: South Africa Opt to Bowl in Must-Win Contest

“The state government is committed to keep the beaches clean. A fresh tender for the beach cleaning work was issued on October 20, 2018 and technical bids were opened on December 5,” he said.

The minister said the tendering process was taken up as per the Central Vigilance Commission’s guidelines.

He said the private firm, which was assigned the beach cleaning task on December 17, 2016 as a “stop-gap arrangement”, continued the work till last year and then it decided to opt out, seeking fees hike.

After the firm refused to continue the work, the tourism department on its own initiated the beach cleaning task. “But, since the department could not cope up with it, the private company was assigned the work again,” he said.

The minister informed the House that garbage collected from North Goa and South Goa districts by the beach cleaning contractor is segregated in situ as well as places identified at the beaches.

The segregated garbage is then transported to the Saligao waste treatment plant in North Goa, he added.

Goa has a 105-km-long coastline which attracts lakhs of domestic and foreign visitors every year.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.