Goa earned ₹250 cr from Sunburn: Minister amid drug row

Last Updated 30 December 2019, 17:05 IST

Even as opposition parties in Goa kicked up a row alleging widespread use of drugs during the Sunburn festival, state Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on Monday said the electronic dance music event should be held twice a year, claiming it had contributed Rs 250 crore to the state coffers.

He also promised a detailed inquiry into the three deaths that took place in this year's edition which started on Friday and culminated on Sunday.

On Friday, two people from Andhra Pradesh had died in hospital after feeling uneasy while standing at the gates of the Sunburn venue at Vagatore beach in North Goa.

On Sunday night, a visitor from Bengaluru complained of "extreme uneasiness" at the festival venue, dying minutes after being admitted in a hospital in Mapusa.

While police claimed they are awaiting detailed post mortem reports, opposition Congress claimed "drug overdose" could not be ruled out in the deaths and hit out at Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for not being able to control the narcotics menace in the coastal state.

Assuring a detailed inquiry into the deaths, Ajgaonkar on Monday said "no drugs were sold at the Sunburn festival venue", adding "we made sure everyone who entered the venue was thoroughly checked".

"People had come to enjoy the music (at the festival). The response was overwhelming and during the three days, a turnover of Rs 250 crore was recorded solely due to Sunburn festival. All hotels in the vicinity were full," he claimed.

He said there was demand from several tourism quarters for a second edition of the Sunburn festival in south Goa to boost the economy there.

The minister also claimed the BJP-led government in the state had cracked down on narcotics, and Rs 4 crore worth of drugs were seized this year from across the state.

(Published 30 December 2019, 17:05 IST)

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