The state government sponsored Carnival celebrations kick off today evening with the gala float parade at Panjim, which incidentally will be flagged off by the Chief Secretary instead of the Tourism Minister who is currently in the United States of America for a Travel Mart to market Goa as a tourist destination.
However, the sponsorship from the government has been reduced this year as the Tourism Department has officially announced that it will only sponsor the prizes for the float parade amounting to Rs. 4 lakhs at each of the five main towns – Panjim, Margao, Mapusa, Ponda and Vasco – where the parade is being held.
Chief Minister Digambar Kamat has reportedly intervened and increased the amount to Rs. 30 lakhs for Panjim and Rs. 15 lakhs to the other towns. But, Margao Carnival Committee President Sushila Naik insisted that they were sanctioned Rs. 15 lakhs additional thereby taking the total amount approved for Margao to Rs. 19 lakhs.
In another interesting development, the Carnival Parade which is marketed as one of the main tourist attraction to Goa, this year saw the Goa Tourism Development Corporation kept out of the event.
GTDC Chairman Shyam Satardekar informed that the Tourism Department did not consult them right from the beginning and is organizing the event entirely on its own this year.