Panaji: Congress party in Goa on Saturday demanded apology from Chief Minister Pramod Sawant over his statement that his government would reduce budgatory allocation to Art and Culture department has a fiscal measure post-COVID-19 outbreak.
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee Spokesman Siddhanath Buyao has condemned the statement by Sawant to a local media in which he had said that the budgetary allocation for Art and Culture department would be reduced and also expenditure on cultural programmes would be curtailed.
“Sawant must immediately withdraw his statement and apologies to the artists community of Goa,” Buyao said.
He said that it is unfortunate that the Chief Minister did not utter a word about the hard times faced by various artists in Goa after the lockdown was announced in India.
“All the programs, dramas, concerts, weddings etc got cancelled which has rendered thousands of artists jobless. The future of artists is bleak as no one knows when this pandemic will come to an end,” he added.
Buyao, who is a musician by profession said that the artists have not demanded any compensation or a package. “The government should in fact give financial assistance to all the artists in Goa who make a living on their daily shows and performances. Artist too has a family to survive,” he said.
Buyao demanded that the Chief Minister should first stop wasteful expenditure and corruption in PWD, Tourism, Sports, Garbage Management and other departments before imposing restrictions on Art and Culture activities.
Today, various work orders are issued without tenders. There are reports of vegetables being purchased at exorbitant prices by Horticulture Department.
Tourism Department has spent crores on foreign junkets, road shows, beach cleaning and beach safety contracts. Government is spending huge amounts on highway garbage cleaning. There is gross corruption in GITM, Fish Festival, GST Council Meeting, Vibrant Goa and other events. Why Chief Minister turned a blind eye on all the wasteful expenditure? He need to answer.
Dr. Pramod Sawant should not forget that the artists have contributed to the freedom struggle and all other major agitations which has helped to retain our identity today. Great artists like Goem Shahir Ulhas Buyao, Bakibab Borkar, Gajanan Raikar, Manoharrai Sardessai, Dinanath Mangueshkar, Alfred Rose, M Boyer, Laxman Pai, Lorna, Anthony Gonsalves have made Goa proud with their contribution in Goa liberation movement, Opinion Poll movement and overall upliftment of art and culture in Goa.
Today, the Police Department is spreading awareness about Corona Virus in the entire country including Goa with the help of Songs and Music. The re-telecast of Ramayan and Mahabharat on Doordarshan is another example to prove that only art can give mental peace and happiness to people during crisis.
The Chief Minister should first make analysis of the huge expenditure incurred by various departments and its return benefit to the State. He should not make Art and Culture department the soft target.