Stop payment to beach-cleaning firms: Lokayukta to tourism dept

This is definitely a welcome move .Its not just stopping the payment to the beach cleaning firms, this needs to be investigated to the very end and those who are guilty made to pay back.

Lokayukta P K Misra on Wednesday directed the tourism department to stop payments to companies cleaning Goa’s beaches till further orders. This comes in light of allegations by Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte, social activist Aires Rodrigues and citizen Suraj Borkar that the beach-cleaning project was a multi-crore scam. Misra also issued a notice to the tourism department instructing it to produce the entire beach cleaning file, while the director of vigilance has been asked to file a detailed report on the investigation conducted into the complaint filed by Rodrigues on May 18 last year.

Rodrigues told TOI that the Goa Lokayukta has ordered the director of tourism to stop payments to Ram Engineering and Construction Company and to Bhumika Cleantech Services Private Limited. Both companies were entrusted with keeping the state’s beaches clean.

 In his complaint to the vigilance department, Rodrigues had sought that a first information report (FIR) be registered against state tourism minister Dilip Parulekar, owner of Ram Engineering and Construction Company and Bhumika Cleantech Services Private Limited Manish Mohata, tourism department officials and brother of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, Avdhoot Parrikar, among others in connection with the alleged multi-crore scam in the tender of the comprehensive management of cleanliness of Goa’s beaches.
 Rodrigues had pointed out that under the so-called scientific method of beach-cleaning, the contract was awarded to these little known companies at an exorbitant Rs 14.56 crore annually while during the earlier years, the cleaning of the state’s beaches cost the government an average of Rs 2 crore annually.
 Khaunte had filed a complaint before the Goa Lokayukta seeking investigation against Parulekar and others in the alleged Rs 14 crore fraud involving beach-cleaning contracts.
 In his complaint, the Porvorim MLA provided a list of 39 persons, including tourism officials, finance secretary and under-secretary, chief secretary, the Goa shack owners’ association, Cavelossim and the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority(GCZMA), who, he said, could provide inputs during investigation.