Smells fishy! Tiger prawns star in Goa legislators’ study report
On a study tour to soak in the grandeur of the British Grand Prix, guess what caught the fancy of Goa’s lawmakers so much so that it featured prominently in their report to the government? Tiger prawns.
Going by the report submitted by three ruling lawmakers, including one cabinet minister, following their junket to the FIM Motocross Championship in Winchester, Britain, a couple of years back, tiger prawns served as starters, a grand continental luncheon and the VIP treatment meted out them, account for a significant chunk of space.
Despite being filed two years ago, the report scripted collectively by Avertano Furtado, fisheries minister in the BJP-led coalition government, BJP legislator Glenn Ticlo and independent legislator Benjamin Silva, which has been accessed by IANS, is relevant especially today, when the state government has found itself in the eye of a storm for splurging Rs.13.24 crore on foreign junkets since coming to power in 2012.
“Of course we had a dish specially prepared for the Goa delegation and you bet we felt like at home. The dish was none other than our famous tiger prawns for starters,” the report says.
The lawmakers justify the inclusion of the ‘tiger prawn starters’ in their report to “emphasise the fact that the VIP arrangements for the Goa delegation done by Youth Stream/FIM co-ordinated by our very own Ashley Gomes, was so perfect and so professionally presented”.
Gomes heads the Goa motor sports association.
The tiger prawn starters on the platter, according to the report, was symbolic not just of “the perfectly arranged guided study tour of the venue and its infrastructure but every single bit of our time spent at the race track was perfectly looked into and so well coordinated by Youth Stream”.
In further eulogising the food served on the nine-day tour (Aug 17-25), the report by Furtado, Ticlo and Silva says: “After having a wonderful continental lunch, specially prepared for VIPs that visit the races from several different countries, just like us, we were told that the organisers, namely ‘Youth Stream’, have taken the responsibility to ensure that the food is liked by all VIP guest(s) who come from different countries with different cultures.”
Furtado incidentally was scheduled to be part of a government-funded World Cup junket to Brazil, which had to be cancelled following national outrage, which subsequently forced the Goa government to pull back funding for the junket.
Criticism of such junkets has now forced the Goa government to subject all future foreign tours to fiscal and feasibility related scrutiny.
The report also admits that it took an actual visit to Britain and meeting the organisers in the VIP area for them to realize how big the FIM Motocross World Championship event really was.
“This sport really has a huge fan following in England. After having our discussion with the organisers over a well presented VIP lunch, in the VIP area, we came to know that this sport has thousands of fans across Europe, the US, Russia and Asia, with the fast growing being in the world’s greatest democracy, namely, India.”
This sport has “the potential to convert Goa from a stagnant beach tourism-oriented destination into an adventure sports destination, thus attracting high-end tourists,” the report also advocates.
Aside from making generic points about the event and the need for a similar motor racing event in Goa, the legislators mention how they were literally ‘wowed’ by the grandness of the British Grand Prix.
“The number of spectators for this race was around 64,000, that’s quite a number and the first impression we got was, ‘wow’!” the report says.
The report was also effusive in its praise for Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for his “vision and foresight” in numerous references, while also calling him a “thorough professional in his political field”.
The ‘study’ tour was expected to help the Goan lawmakers gain knowhow in order to host a leg of the international racing event in Goa.