Goa opposition questions expenditure on foreign junkets

Panaji, Jan 12 (IANS) The opposition on Tuesday grilled the ruling BJP-led coalition government in Goa over spending Rs.19 crore on foreign junkets of tourism officials over the past three years.

Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar, who was on the mat over the accusation of excessive spending by Congress legislator Digmabar Kamat in the Goa assembly, said he would table all reports filed by government officials who had gone on foreign junkets.

“In three years, expenditure is Rs.19 crore and this year’s statement bills have not been submitted. The amount spent must be more than Rs.19 crore,” Kamat told the assembly, quoting statistics from a reply from the tourism minister.

Kamat also questioned the logic behind the tourism ministry conducting official visits to Los Angeles, New York, Washington in the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal and demanded an explanation from Parulekar as to how many tourists have visited Goa from these countries. The minister could not provide the figures.

“There are even officials from the water resources ministry who have joined tourism officials on foreign tours,” Kamat said.

Defending the junkets, Parulekar said the Congress-led coalition government also sanctioned tourism ministry’s foreign tours.

The minister assured the assembly that reports of all foreign tours would be tabled in the ongoing assembly session.

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