Goa minister in dock for leasing govt hospital premises to NGO

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Panaji, July 29: Goa Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza was today cornered on the floor of the House by Opposition benches for leasing out an old vacant building of a government hospital to an NGO run by BJP legislator Pramod Sawant.

During the Question Hour, D'Souza, who is also State Health Minister, was at the receiving end from Opposition leaders including Digamber Kamat, Vishwajit Rane, Alexio Reginaldo Lourenco (all Congress MLAs) and Independent MLA Vijay Sardesai.

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The Opposition alleged that the government property was leased out without adhering to Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) guidelines and in violation of the Central Government's Competition Act, which says that non used government property should be auctioned.

The question was raised by former Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, who is also a Congress MLA. The hospital building in Sankhalim village has been leased out NGO Sai Life Care headed by Sawant, with an aim to convert it into a nursing institute.

"The entire process is a scam. The building is leased out without CVC guidelines and without conducting any auction. I had spoken to former Advocate General, who confirmed to me that the process is in gross violation as government has no powers to give away its premise on lease without auction," Rane alleged.

Defending the government's decision, D'Souza said "government is bound to give non-used government buildings to NGOs or charitable organizations or education institutes on their request." "Here too, the motive was very clear to promote and create more nurses as state is short of qualified nurses," he said.

The Opposition benches were however not satisfied with the reply by D'Souza. Rane alleged that the State Health minister allowed the lease to be executed without knowing the background of the NGO.

Kamat and Sardesai joined Rane in his attack against the government on the floor of the House. They questioned the state government whether they have any guidelines to decide the use of non-used state owned buildings.

PTI 

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