Goa ministers splurge taxpayers’ moneyApril 5th, 2009 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS
By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar
Panaji, April 5 (IANS) The Goa government has spent nearly Rs.1.5 crore on food and almost Rs.13 lakhs refurnishing the official residences of three senior ministers and the speaker, according to written replies given by the government to questions raised in the state assembly.
Chief Minister Digambar Kamat threw one party at Eid and another at Christmas. The combined bill came to nearly Rs.11 lakhs, according to one of the replies to a set of questions posed by two legislators - Dayanand Narvekar of the ruling Congress and Vasudev Gaonkar of the Bharatiya Janata Party - during the recent budget session of the assembly.
Kamat also hosted a dinner for historian Romila Thapar and journalist P. Sainath when they were here for a lecture series. The bill for the dinner at a five-star resort came to Rs.244,000, according to a reply in the assembly.
A group of experts was here in September for a seminar on Strategies for Improving Livelihood Security for Rural Poor. Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane treated the delegates to a dinner. The money spent was Rs.310,000, says another reply, adding that the guests also went on an evening cruise on the Mandovi river at the cost of the exchequer.
All the food bills, along with several others which totalled nearly Rs.15 million, were footed by the Arts and Culture Department, which is under the chief minister.
Curtains in the official residence of Home Minister Ravi Naik here cost Rs.123,000 and those in Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao’s home Rs.58,036. Two TV sets given to Alemao cost over Rs.100,000.
Assembly Speaker Pratapsing Rane’s liquor cabinet is richer. He bought a wine opener for Rs.875, wine glasses for Rs.800, beer glasses for Rs.200, a set of crystal glasses for Rs.1,000 and cocktail glasses for Rs.1,200, all paid for by the exchequer, says a reply. Add to that a set of bathroom glasses costing Rs.700 each.
All the bills for home furnishings and cutlery were footed by the PWD, along with a host of others, taking the total to almost Rs.1.3 million.
The Goa treasury has an outstanding debt of Rs.50 billion.
Asked if there was a standard procedure or a cap on such expenses, officials in the protocol department of the state government chose not to answer.
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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