Centre monitoring filmfest standards as venue issue still dogs Goa

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Panaji, Nov 23 (UNI) The Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry has been monitoring the ''standards'' related to the conduct and activities of the ongoing 38th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) before taking a final decision as to retain or shift the venue of the prestigious event from Goa.

''Yes, many states have been asking for shifting the venue from Goa as they are ready to host the event. It is mainly because of the standards the event has to maintain. We are watching the situation this time also,'' the Information and Broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told media persons here today.

He was reacting to a newsman's query after addressing the valedictory session of the two-day CII-sponsorerd conference on ''India - The Big Picture'' that coincided with the IFFI. Media persons asked him about the truth in the demand for shifting the venue from Goa, particularly in the light of the open comment made recently by West Bengal chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya.

It might be recalled that the Goa government had spent more than Rs 15 crores for providing what was claimed the ''world class infrastructure'' for hosting the event since the year 2004 with the film industry besides the CII favouring Goa as its permanent venue.

Since inception, the conduct of the event was marked with one or the other goof-up with bad management practices, media mishandling and attracting the ire of the delegates.

Many states started renewing their plea for shifting the venue from Goa with the event managers in the state spending their energies more on peripheral activities making it as a fun, instead of ensuring that the film festival meant real film business and film-centric alone, quipped the Information and Broadcasting secretary Ms Asha Swarup.

Now that the Centre had made it clear to the organisers, the event managers had almost eliminated the peripheral shows in and around the venue this year, realising their folly, Directorate of Film Festival (DFF) authorities said.

The Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), which was the nodal agency of the government for holding the event, had confined the non-film related shows to outside the capital city to encourage local talent in cultural programmes.

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said that Goa continues to be venue of the event in future also even as it had planned to set up a state-of-the-art international convention centre with 4000 seating capacity to facilitate the conduct of such megashows in future.

The pooled seating capacity for the current bout of the festival was about 3500 as against registered 4000 delegates.

UNI

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