The first five months of operations at the much hyped cultural centre, Ravindra Bhavan, at Margao is mind boggling. An estimated sum of Rs 72 lakhs have already been spent on various aspects of this centre which raises the question whether the Ravindra Bhavan is biting more than its share.
At a disclosure in the last assembly, the chief Minister Mr Digambar Kamat who himself holds the portfolio for art and culture informed that the government spent a sum of Rs 13,85,579 on the inaugural function followed by cultural programmes from July 20 2008 to August 1 2008.
The salaries of the staff till december 2008 accounted for around Rs 41 lakhs itself while Rs 11 lakhs have been spent on electricity charges . An amount of 6 lakhs are shown towards security services while miscellaneous charges were spent on water and telephone.
It may be recalled that the Ravindra Bhavan has been built at an estimated expenditure of around 21 crores. The Chief Minister had subsequently ordered all the seats of the main auditorium to be replaced as they were found defective and the cost incurred for this replacement was another 38 lakh. Also a further amount of Rs 38 lakh was also spent towards the water fountain by the Public Works department.
Which brings us to the question, are structures such as the Ravindra Bhavan, Goa's latest breed of white elephants?