Bhubaneswar, 27/11: Tourism and Culture minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi today came under the opposition target. Alleging that he had taken two women friends to Hyderabad on government cost, the Congress today wanted to know their identity and their relation with the minister.
On the other hand, the minister denied the Congress charge. “No women have gone to Hyderabad on government expense”, he said.
The Congress leaders alleged that minister Panigrahi had taken two women with him to attend the road show organized by the tourism department in October for tourism promotion Their travel expense was borne by the government, they added questioning the purpose of their visit.
According to the Congress allegation, tourism minister Panigrahi’s private secretary had written to the Director, Tourism to book air tickets and hotel for himself and two of his women friends. The state-run Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) should clarify as to whether the state government has borne their travel expense or any sponsorer has sponsored their trip, demanded the Congress leaders.
“When the state’s economy is in doldrums and the government is adopting austerity measures to improve the financial situation, is it justified on the part of the tourism minister to take her personal friends on government expense”, asked they.
However, the minster stoutly denied the opposition charge. “ The allegation is false and baseless. No women have gone to Hyderabad on government expense”, said Panigrahi.