Goa governor, CM spar again, this time over new Raj Bhavan
Goa CM and the governor have recently been at odds with each other over government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.Updated: Aug 01, 2020 19:40 IST
Yet another episode in the ongoing skirmish between Goa governor Satyapal Malik and chief minister Pramod Sawant has unfolded with the governor terming the Goa government’s decision to build a new Raj Bhavan for the state as “illogical and imprudent”, especially since it has come during a pandemic and has sought that it be deferred.
In a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan, the governor has said that “at a time when the state is battling Covid-19 and reeling under financial crises, the idea to construct a new Raj Bhavan is irrational and imprudent.”
“Any new capital work would entail unnecessary additional financial burden on the state exchequer thereby exacerbating the economic distress of the state,” the governor said.
Malik who had addressed a letter to the chief minister has clarified that his requirement for functioning as the governor is very limited and that he does not require a new Raj Bhavan building per se.
On July 24, Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant announced the decision to construct new premises for the Raj Bhavan and suggested related work like identifying land for the building and finalizing its design could be tendered before April 2021.
The Goa governors’ residence is housed in an erstwhile Portuguese fort that was used to accommodate Portuguese governors prior to being converted into a governor’s residence after liberation.
Speaking after a review meeting of the ongoing maintenance work of Raj Bhavan and its restoration at his residence Altinho Panaji, CM proposed the idea for the new building saying the existing centuries-old building has been declared a heritage building by the archaeological survey of India and could be put to heritage or tourism use.
The chief minister stressed on to sustain the originality and uniqueness of the building of the existing building.
However, the announcement didn’t go down well with the governor, who shot off a letter to the chief minister pointing out that “a lot of negativities and controversies are being generated” and asked him to defer the proposal till the state finances improve.
Opposition parties had questioned the government’s decision to announce a new Raj Bhavan amid a severe financial crisis which has seen the state resort to unprecedented borrowing to keep the engine running. The Goa government has also announced austerity measures including a ban on recruitment, a ban on new capital works in a bid to cut costs and shore up the balance sheet.
The governor and the CM have had several run-ins most recently over the state government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the governor accusing Sawant of putting words in his mouth that he was happy with the handling but disappointed with the coverage in the media.
The chief Minister later met the governor and clarified his comments.