Contrary to earlier claims, the visit of President Pratibha Patil to Goa in January this year, was an official visit.
It may be recalled that the President had visited Goa from 3rd to 6th January when it is the peak tourism season for the State and had visited the Benaulim beach where she was photographed draped in a silk saree.
According to information sought under the Right to Information Act, the state administration was informed about the President’s visit only on 1st January.
The Protocol Department of Goa government incurred an expenditure of Rs 14,18,772 on her visit and this does not include the amount spent on the dinner hosted in her honour by Goa Governor Dr. S S Sidhu.
The President was accompanied by her husband Dr. Devisingh Shekhawat, her daughter Jyoti Rathore and granddaughter Vedika Rathore along with a personal staff numbering 36.
The breakup of the expenditure incurred on the President’s visit is as follows:
Rs 3,20,250 towards lodging and boarding of her entourage housed at Cidade de Goa;
Rs 1,29,915 towards lodging and boarding of her entourage housed at International Centre, Goa;
Rs 6,23,188 towards vehicle hired through Goa Tourism Development Corporation for her entourage;
Rs 1,19,999 towards the lunch hosted in her honour by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat at Cidade de Goa hotel;
Rs 20,000 towards money spent on the boat ride and jet ski for her entourage at Benaulim beach;
Rs 4,400 towards the flowers offered to her.
Activist Aires Rodrigues who had got this information under the Right to Information Act, has demanded to know what was the “official purpose” of the President’s visit to Goa and asked that such extravagant expenditure should be stopped.
“Besides the amount spent, people were put to a great inconvenience during the visit as traffic was stopped for hours along the route taken by her,” he said while condemning the hardships common people were put to just to pander to the whims and fancies of those in power.