Congress slams Goa govt 'junket' to Norway

The Congress in Goa on Saturday, criticised the BJP-led government in the coastal state for organising a "junket" to Norway and Sweden for waste management solutions, especially at a time when the state government exchequer is facing a cash crunch. 

Speaking to reporters in Panaji, Goa Congress spokesperson Trajano D'Mello has urged Goa's Garbage Management Minister Michael Lobo to travel to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency of Varanasi, to "study" garbage management, because of the rhetoric built by the BJP around advanced waste management methods being used in the Uttar Pradesh city. 

"What are they doing by going abroad? Why are they spending money by going to these countries, especially when Goa is in a financial crunch. Our party president Girish Chodankar has laid bare using RTI records about how bankrupt the state treasury really is," D'Mello told DH. 

The overseas tour to Norway and Sweden has been organised by the newly instituted Garbage Management Ministry of the BJP-led coalition government, led by Cabinet Minister Michael Lobo. 

According to Lobo, the tour to Norway and Sweden will accommodate four journalists, three officials of the Garbage Management Ministry and Goa State Pollution Control Board, apart from himself. 

Lobo further said that while in Norway, the Goa delegation would study the country's construction debris management systems, the Swedish leg of the tour would focus on the conversion of dry waste to energy. 

"Tourists who visit Goa complain of construction debris strewn around everywhere. We are being invited in Norway to see their solid waste management facility. They make products out of construction waste like old stones, tiles, false ceilings. They have the technology to convert this waste into blocks, interlocking pavers, sand and all. Internationally, they have advanced technology and we will set up a similar facility in Goa," Lobo said, justifying the overseas study tour. 

"This overseas tour is an insult to the PM of the country. It looks like BJP ministers do not have faith in the technology brought by him to Varanasi. Instead of Norway and Sweden, Lobo should considering visit Varanasi," D'Mello said.

Goa has only one garbage management plant and the coalition government in the state has been at the receiving end of criticism, following its to manage the state's biggest open landfill at Sonsoddo in South Goa district, which has emerged as a health hazard for people living in the area. 

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