Panaji: Central government funds of Rs 78 crore, meant for hosting the Portuguese Commonwealth Games in Goa in 2013, have "disappeared", Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Saturday. "Rs 78 meant to be utilised for sports infrastructure has disappeared. They were central funds," Parrikar told a sports gathering.
Parrikar's disclosure comes as another controversy continues to dog the Lusofonia Games 2013, in which over a dozen countries formerly ruled by the Portuguese are participating. This is not the first controversy to hit the Lusofonia games.
Two years ago, the Bharatiya Janata Party had accused then sports minister Babu Azgaonkar of a Commonwealth Games-like scam, when plush hospitality facilities were included as part of the sports infrastructure plans for the Lusofonia Games. When the BJP came to power in Goa in 2012, its legislator Vishnu Wagh said that the Lusofonia games were held in countries which are ruled by the Portuguese.
"Goa is not a country and India was certainly not ruled by Portuguese colonists. There is no reason why the games should be held here," Wagh said.
International organisers of the Lusofonia games, the Associacao dos Comites Olimpicos de Lingua Oficial Portuguesa (ACOLOP), had also expressed their distaste with the controversies and delays in the infrastructure creation for the games. The ACOLOP is a group of officials from Portuguese nations, which organises the games once every four years.
However, Parrikar said that the games would be held as scheduled, adding that his claim that the money had gone missing was not an accusation. "I am not accusing. I am stating facts. Money for sports development was spent somewhere else, leaving nothing for sports," Parrikar said, adding that he had made arrangements for alternative funds. "All infrastructural works are ahead of times and will be ready before the games," Parrikar added.