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Congress demands details of US junket spending




The Congress party on Thursday demanded details of the bills and expenses of the tourism department’s delegation that was on a visit to the US for tourism promotional event; failing which, they have threatened to expose the Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar with documentary evidence.

“Manohar Ajgaonkar took his family members to the US junket on government funding; we want the tourism department to declare the details of the expenditure incurred by the government on this tour. He (Ajgaonkar) should also disclose the names of the people who were part of the delegation,” said Mandrem MLA Dayanand Sopte, while addressing a press conference in Panaji.

He said that the government should spell out the activities which they undertook in the US for the promotional event, adding, Ajgaonkar should tell the people of Goa as to how his US junket with his family will benefit the tourism industry and how it will increase the tourist footfalls.

Sopte claimed that tourist arrivals from the US was dropping every year and only one per cent of the total foreign tourists that visited the state in 2016 was from the US. Congress spokesperson Amarnath Panjikar said that four family members of tourism minister namely Dr Shrikant Ajgaonkar, Rashmi Ajgaonkar, Megha Ajgaonkar, Meeta Ajgaonkar were part of the delegation of the tourism department which visited the US.

“Dr Shrikant Ajgaonkar is a government officer at the department of labour and employment, and Rashmi Ajgaonkar is an employee of the excise department. We want to know whether they had sought permission from their respective departments before going to this tour on government funding or whether it was their private holiday or picnic tour,” Panjikar questioned.

He further demanded that the event management company which was appointed to organise the event in the US should declare their account statement of last 12 months if they were not part of the alleged illegalities in the tour.

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