Panaji, Apr 1: The state government today informed the Assembly that two Goa ministers and four BJP legislators have toured at least 20 countries in the last two years costing the state exchequer Rs 6.20 crore. According to the information tabled by the state government during the Goa Legislative Assembly session, the state Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar along with Industries Minister Mahadev Naik have travelled different countries to participate in tourism events. (READ: Goa legislators bow down to pressure, pay up for Brazil tour)
Deputy Speaker Anant Shet, Goa Tourism Development Corporation Chairman Nilesh Cabral and BJP legislators – Ganesh Gaonkar and Subhash Faldesai – were named for travelling at state cost, they said. Out of the entire amount, half of it (around Rs 3.36 crore) was spent on Parulekar alone for his trip to countries like Dubai, Edinburgh, Leeds, UK, Los Angeles, New York, Istanbul and Turkey, the report said. “The travel agent is yet to submit the Minister’s travel bills for Chicago, USA, Amsterdam and Netherland,” read the reply.
The recently concluded Budget session saw Opposition benches launching a scathing attack on tourism?minister for incurring huge expenditure on foreign and domestic tourism jaunts, without having pre-audit of the expenses. The Tourism Department has spent Rs 22 crore on international and Rs 20 crore on domestic tours since 2012, the government informed. Independent legislator Vijay Sardesai, who had raised the issue, told the House that during the last two months the Ministry has spent Rs 8.5 crore on promotion of state tourism.
The government clarified that prior approval from the Centre was sought on all foreign tours and travels. The Goa government had said that it has organised series of international and domestic events in order to improve the tourist?inflow in the state, which has gone up by almost 30 per cent since 2012.