CARNIVAL COMMITTEES CAN ROPE IN PRIVATE SPONSORS

PANJIM: Though Carnival figures prominently on the state tourism calendar, the government has slashed its funding for this year's festival stunning festival organizers in the four towns of Goa.  At a recent meeting with the Carnival committees of Panjim, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa, the government told the organizers it had reduced funding for the celebrations, and they would have to make do with the amount sanctioned. The committees have, however, been given the liberty to rope in private sponsors.
"Last year, we increased our funding as we told the respective committees not to look for sponsors. This year, the organizing committees are free to look for sponsors," tourism director Swapnil Naik said Corporation of the City of Panjim (CCP) which heads the 'Panjim Carnival Committee' has been given 4 lakh, while Margao, Vasco and Mapusa have been sanctioned Rs 3 lakh each for the festivities.
Compare this with last year's funding. Panjim had received 35 lakh, while Margao, Vasco and Mapusa had been sanctioned. 15 lakh each. "The total budget last year was 80 lakh. This year, it is 16 lakh," sources said.
Allegations are that funds meant for Carnival have been diverted to pay for tourism minister Nilkanth Halarnkar's roadshows happening in the USA this month. "The tourism minister will conduct roadshows in three US cities. A sum of .` 1.35 crore has been sanctioned for this. Being at the end of the financial year, the funds for the Carnival celebrations have been slashed to accommodate the US trip," sources said.

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