Minister for arts and culture in Goa Government, Govind Gaude, has made it to headlines over bizarre comments recalling Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and Taj Mahal in reference to a government tender. Under heavy fire from opposition for failing to call for quotations before approving the ₹49-crore cost of renovation of the iconic Kala Academy Complex in Panaji, Mr Gaude on Wednesday, in his defense, said even Shah Jahan didn’t call for quotations before building the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Renowned architect Charles Correa has designed the cultural hub in Goa’s capital, Panaji.
Mr Gaude, speaking in Goa assembly, said: “My esteemed colleague must have certainly visited the Taj Mahal in Agra. It was started to be built in 1632 and completed in 1653. Till today it looks beautiful and everlasting. Why do you think that is? Because Shah Jahan didn’t invite quotations when building the Taj Mahal and for 390 years it remains as it was.”
Vijai Sardesai, the opposition legislator in state assembly, has alleged that the work which was awarded to a specialised agency Techton Buildcons Pvt Ltd was done so without following due tender process in violation of the Central Public Works Department rules.
Mr Sardesai, who has alleged bypassing of norms to award the contract, said: “The work has been given on a nomination basis without tender because of a specialised agency. This tender violates the CPWD manual. Specialised work also needs tenders.”
Mr Gaude, in his reply during the question hour, said: “The work is of specialised nature, it was decided to award this work to a specialised agency.”
Kala Academy (Academy of the Arts) is a prominent cultural centre run by the Government of Goa. It plays the role of being an “apex body to develop music, dance, drama, fine art, folk art, literature, etc. and thereby promote (the) cultural unity of Goa.”
Funded by the Government of Goa, the centre offers training through its faculty, and also organises festivals, competitions, exhibitions, workshops, seminars, and other programmes related to various forms of the local arts.
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