Six Goa MLAs, three of whom are ministers, are being sent on a 10-day trip to Brazil to watch the football World Cup at a cost of Rs 89 lakh to the state government.
The decision has kicked up a storm with the opposition Congress on Thursday terming the trip a “wasteful expenditure” and seeking PM Narendra Modi’s intervention to “stop the junket”.
But CM Manohar Parrikar justified the “study tour”, saying it will help in Goa’s preparations for the Under-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017 since the state could be one of the venues. “They have been asked to go, not that they wanted to go themselves. Of course they were happy to go,” he said.
State government sources said ministers Ramesh Tawadkar (Sports), Avertano Furtado (Fisheries) and Milind Naik (Power), and MLAs Carlose Almeida, Glen Ticlo (both BJP) and Benjamin Silvea (Independent) will be undertaking the trip, starting from July 1, as part of a “study tour”. The state’s sports department has sanctioned Rs 89 lakh for the trip, a senior officer said.
The Congress criticised the government, calling the trip a “loot” of the exchequer. State Congress spokesman Durgadas Kamat alleged, “Goa government has been on a spree to loot the public exchequer. When state is reeling under financial crisis, what is the need for such a junket?” He said it was surprising that no government officer or sportsman is accompanying this “all exclusive delegation of politicians”.
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