Monday 16 December 2019

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No to exhibition ground in the town

 

The prestigious project of setting up a permanent exhibition ground on the lines of Delhi's Pragati Maidan in the tourist state has run into rough weathers with the Bharatiya Janata Party's local unit strongly objecting to the site selected by the central authorities.

With elections round the corner, it has now also turned into a political battle as former chief minister Dr Wilfred de Souza, who was instrumental in getting this project diverted from Mumbai, has vehemently opposed the BJP's stand.

The ball is obviously now in the court of governor Lt Gen (Retd) J F R Jacob, running the state of affairs under the President's rule. Going against de Souza's demand to expedite the proposal, BJP spokesperson Manohar Parrikar has demanded that it be kept in abeyance till elected government comes to power.

De Souza, during his three-and-a-half month rule from July last year, had succeeded in persuading union commerce minister Ramkrishna Hedge to set up the regional centre in Goa instead of Mumbai. The Indian Trade Promotion Organisation officials had then selected the Campal parade ground in Panaji as the ideal site.

With election fever started heating up in Goa, former Panaji legislator Parrikar has now strongly demanded that the site be taken out of town as the parade ground is the only open space left in the capital city. "I am not opposed to the concept but the site", he says.

"It is contrary to the interest of the tourist state", alleges de Souza, who strongly feels that the permanent exhibition centre should come up as fast as possible at the parade ground at Campal. The proposal would obviously help the tourism growth in the state.

To be built as a joint venture between the Goa government and the ITPO with the equity of land and Rs 10 crore respectively, the state authorities have also now objected to the decision to allot the land in a prime location in the town for a song.

The area of 43,000 sq. mts at the parade ground is decided to be allotted at the rate of only Rs 1500 while the normal land rate in the area varies between Rs 8000 to Rs 10,000 per sq. mt in the state capital, which would mean the land worth Rs 35 crore would be leased out for a mere over Rs six crore.

While operation of remaining regional centres to be set up in Calcutta, Chennai and Bangalore has begun with either MoU being signed or in the process of settling it positively, the ongoing President's rule may postpone the decision here till June if the governor opts out for the new government to take a decision.






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