Goa govt stops paying electricity bills for religious places

Panaji: Years after illuminating several churches, temples and a mosque in the state, Goa government today decided not to foot their electricity bill anymore as an austerity measure, drawing flak from the opposition.

"The Department of Tourism has taken a decision not to pay electricity consumption charges for illumination of religious places as an austerity measure," Director of Tourism Ameya Abhyankar was quoted as saying in a press release issued here today.

However, tourism department will continue to bear the cost of installation of the system in th religious places.

"Department's scheme to illuminate religious places, however, will continue and it will bear the cost of installing the system, provided the religious institution gives a undertaking that it will pay for electricity consumption charges," Abhyankar said.

Almost a decade back, the tourism department had started illuminating the religious places.

So far it had illuminated 42 temples, 21 churches and a mosque, he said.

Meanwhile, the state government's decision came under a flak from the Congress and NCP.

"The decision gives a clear indication that the minds of the rulers of this government have been darkened and that they have reached an extent of trying to darken religious places," said NCP Goa spokesperson Trajano D'Mello.

"They should understand that these religious places are spiritual ones which have light of its own and that it illuminates in the heart and mind of individuals," he added.

Goa Congress spokesperson Sunil Kawathankar said that the government should curtail the expenditure of their ministers who are globe-trotting.

"The amount of money spent on junkets is hundred times higher than the electricity bills on the illumination of churches and temples. The government should stop junkets first," he said.

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