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Tourism dept lacks expertise to evaluate creative designs



Following the discrepancy pointed out by ‘The Navhind Times’ as regards the bids to be opened by the department of tourism on July 10, for selecting an agency for designing and erecting Goa pavilion in Kolkata, for the 3-day Travel and Tourism Fair, the department on Wednesday was forced to withdraw its participation from the particular event.

The department of tourism had booked 150 sq mt of space at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, in Kolkata. However, the state will now not participate in the Kolkata event.

Meanwhile, the department of tourism opened bids Wednesday evening, for selecting agencies from Category A of its empanelled list, to handle tourism fairs at nine other places around the country, including Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur. The selection for Category B agencies was also done today, for handling various domestic events of the department of tourism. 

It may be recalled that this daily had raised queries as to how the selected agency could design and erect Goa pavilion in Kolkata, besides obtain financial approval and work order within 24 hours, as the bid was to be awarded to the agency on July 10 and the Kolkata event inaugurated on July 12.

Incidentally, even though the department of tourism has decided to stay away from the Kolkata event, another irregularity has come up about the estimates prepared for other nine tourism fairs, and for which the department has awarded bids to the agencies on July 10.

Whenever the public works department floats tenders for its works, the related estimates are prepared as per the guidelines in the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) manual. In contrast, all the

estimates linked to the tenders of the department of tourism are prepared minus any guidelines.

It is also interesting to note that since most of the tenders of the department of tourism have creativity – an abstract entity – as their integral part, the related estimates are vague and without any basis. Furthermore, the department officials have no expertise in such matters, and the state-level marketing and promotion committee, which is supposed to take the decisions, is clearly shying away from the same.

Although the tender document for tourism fairs mentions that three different designs are to be submitted for approval from the department of tourism, it is noticed that such practice is never followed, and none of the department officials have the requisite qualification to evaluate such creative designs.

It may also be noted that the Entertainment Society of Goa, the department of information and publicity, and the department of art and culture have separate committees comprising of experts from respective fields, to evaluate and select such creative designs. 

It has been noticed that most of the times, the estimates related to tenders of the department of tourism are cleared without their assessment by the designers, planners and architects, especially when designs are involved in the same.

It is surprising to observe that these ambiguous estimates of the department of tourism get approval from the finance department, which has now invited the personal intervention of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who holds the finance portfolio.

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