Drama has broken out in Goa, more than a month before the coastal state hosts the 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), with Congress threatening an agitation over the absence of Konkani films in the central government’s biggest film event.
The Goa Congress has also demanded a white paper from Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, to elucidate as to how the event has benefitted Goa, since the time it was relocated to the coastal state 15 years ago.
“The Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) has completely failed in its responsibilities of fulfilling its own objective and hence the Goan filmmakers are facing challenges on every front,” Congress spokesperson Swati Kerkar told reporters in Panaji.
The programming schedule of the IFFI, which is scheduled to be held in Goa in November, was released by Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Prakash Javdekar in the national capital.
The film festival was first shifted to Goa in 2004, during the reign of then Chief Minister the late Manohar Parrikar and was indirectly responsible for spurring the growth of the local film industry.
The Congress has, however, said that the lack of Konkani films at the event in its 2019 edition indicates to a step-motherly treatment of the state’s official language.
“We demand that Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant who is also the Chairman of ESG should immediately release a white paper on the overall benefits received by Goa and more particularly the Goan Film Fraternity from IFFI in the last 15 years,” Kerkar also said.
The ESG is an autonomous body headed by the chief minister and is responsible for arranging the logistics required for the event, in co-ordination with the I&B Ministry.
Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat has already warned of protests in the state, during the duration of the film festival, if Konkani films are not included in the event’s programming schedule.