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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

NGO Hope Foundation exposes Dust Bin scam in tourism department

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Panaji: Goa-based NGO Hope Foundation has alleged a massive scam in Tourism Department under the guise of purchasing Dust Bins for the beach cleaning contractor, Drishti.

The NGO has procured various documents under Right to Information to support their claim that “there is something fishy in buying of the dust bins.”

Interestingly, none of the dust bins procured except for one lot has Bill provided to the Department though the money has been released. And the bill that is provided for single lot has the non-existing address of a firm based at Ponda.

NGO’s Director Inacio Domnick Pereira demanded that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant should inquire into the matter and also role of Tourism Minister Babu Ajgaonkar should be investigated.

The beach cleaning contract, which has been running in controversies since last half a decade, is currently given to Drishti who is paid almost Rs three lakh every day. The NGO has said that the agency does not have required experience and has cut down on the workforce while increasing their fees to clean the beaches.

Pereira said that he began investigating the matter of Beach Cleanliness after several Goan workers were rusticated from the work by Drishti replacing them with non-Goan workforce.

The agency has purchased first lot of 178 Dust bins at the cost of Rs 6,72,128 following by another lot of 255 dust bins costing Rs 17 lakh. The third lot was huge, it was of 710 dust bins costing Rs 24.71 lakh while another 710 ART dust bins were procured costing Rs 30.63 lakh.

The NGO has alleged that the dust bins never reached the beaches, while the bills were not submitted while getting the payment from the department. One bill which is submitted has name of supplier as operating from Sardesai Building at Ponda but when NGO members went there, there was no such shop or office existing.

On other bills, Drishti has been named as supplier, though it is a known fact that the company does not manufacture any Dust Bins.

Pereira has demanded detailed inquiry into the matter and has threatened to approach Lokayukta, if government fails to punish guilty.

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