Aires Rodrigues, on facebook 

The Goa Government illegally allotted prime newly constructed office premises at Paryatan Bhavan (Tourism Bhavan) in Panaji to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar without following required procedure. This has been revealed in the information obtained from the Tourism Department under the Right to Information Act.

As per the file notings the aim of constructing the Paryatan Bhavan was to bring all stakeholders of the Tourism industry under one roof to provide all Tourism related services and information. But contrary to this government policy by an order dated January 9th this year the Goa Government allotted Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar a 140 sq mt office on the third floor of the Paryatan Bhavan.

As per the documents obtained under the RTI the allotment was done without a written request from Manohar Parrikar, the central government or the Defence Ministry and with no terms and conditions including the rent payable set out.

Interestingly as per the file notings the 3rd meeting of the High Power Monitoring Committee of the Goa Government held on 24January 2014 had decided to allot that 140 sq mt space on the third floor to house the office of Travel & Tourism Association of Goa.

The file notings reveal that requests for office space are pending from various stakeholders of the Tourism Industry including, Government of India Tourism, Goa Handicrafts Rural and Small Scale Industries Ltd, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation , Karnataka Tourism, Directorate of NRI Affairs, Goa Tourist Guides Association amongst others. As per the information furnished only the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has been allotted only some table space on the ground floor while the government has given approval to set up the office of FRRO Bureau of Immigration on the fourth floor.

The file notings also reveal that a request of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) dated 28th February 2014 for office space at Paryatan Bhavan was earlier short down on the ground that the activities of DRDA were not related to Tourism.

The file notings further reveal that 77.47 sq mts on the ground floor earlier allotted to house the office of India Tourism was given to then Union Tourism Minister Shripad Naik and is no w being used by him as Minister of State for Ayush, Health and Family Welfare. As per the file notings the allotment of that office space to Shripad Naik was also done without following the laid down procedure and with no documentation on rent payable and other terms and conditions. The allotment was done on a mere six line note dated 20th June 2014 by Shripad Naik to the then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar which did not specify the required office space. Interestingly the file notings are silent on how many sq mts office space was to be allotted to Shripad Naik.

The allotment of prime office space at Paryatan Bhavan to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Minister of State for Ayush Shripad Naik is a very high-handed and a gross abuse of power. Earlier Union Ministers from Goa were never allotted such office space by the Goa Government.

Stern action needs to be taken against those responsible for allowing this illegal allotment of office premises to Manohar Parrikar and Shripad Naik.The Goa government has at Panaji Patto itself taken on rent office premises at a staggering Rs 650 a sq mt to house government offices.

The Union Ministers should have sourced office space at any of the central government premises. This doling away scarce space at the Paryatan Bhavan for non- tourism purpose only proves that the government is not serious in curing the current ills faced by Goa’s depleted Tourism Industry.