CM didn’t inform me about rejecting Sunburn: Minister



Bridges appear to have been 'burnt', at least to some extent, between Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar over the Sunburn electronic dance music festival.

Minutes after Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told reporters following a cabinet meeting, that his office had rejected the file moved by the Tourism Ministry to facilitate the organisation of the multi-crore event, the concerned Minister Ajgaonkar claimed that he did not even know about such a decision by the Chief Minister's Office.

"The CM has not informed me about rejecting the file," Ajgaonkar told reporters at the State Secretariat soon after the Chief Minister's interaction with the media.

Sawant had told reporters that the Goa government "Had not given permission for Sunburn" this year, adding that his office had already processed the file, which according to government protocol is returned to the Ministry which has forwarded it to the Chief Minister's Office.

Ajgaonkar further said that his Ministry was keen on hosting the EDM event, which is regularly (barring a few exceptions) held in the last week of December and is attended by thousands of tourists from all across the country.

While the EDM event has invariably attracted controversy due to drug overdose deaths at the site as well as last-minute permissions and graft, the event has been a hit with music lovers, who travel to Goa specially to attend the festival.

Ajgaonkar said that perhaps the Chief Minister rejected permission for the event in fear over the possibility of a potential rise in Covid cases during the festive season.

"I felt that it should be held. I wanted it to happen," Ajgaonkar said.

The Tourism Minister also said that the Chief Minister had the right to take the final call on the issue of allowing the event.

"Any decision on hosting any event is taken by the CM. They (CMO) know the pandemic situation and the SOP. The file had come to us, we had sent it to (CMO) for a decision. The final decision is taken by the CM," the Tourism Minister said.

"CM has taken a decision after studying the matter. I cannot take any decision, without final approval from the CM. CM has not informed me about rejecting the file yet," Ajgaonkar also said.

The Tourism Minister also did not reply negatively to a question as to whether the event could be potentially held in February.

"The show must go on," Ajgaonkar said in response to the media query.

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