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Goa is permanent venue for film festival: Minister

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, OCT. 28. The Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, S. Jaipal Reddy, said today that Goa would be the permanent venue of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) thereby putting to rest speculation of the Government's reversing the Vajpayee regime's decision to give the annual festival a fixed address.

Mr. Reddy clarified the Ministry's position on the IFFI venue after a meeting of the organising committee of this year's festival. The memorandum of understanding between the Centre and the Goa Government to host IFFI in the western State this year, he said, would be revisited to make Goa the permanent venue of the festival. Talking to reporters, the Minister said the MoU had been signed only for a year at first because the infrastructure needed to host an international film festival was not in place at the time of signing.

While the Goa Chief Minister, Manohar Parikkar, maintained that 95 per cent of the preparations for the festival beginning November 29 had been completed, he did put in a request to the I&B Ministry for help in securing five companies of Central forces. Since the festival dates coincide with the Exposition of St. Francis Xavier, the State Government is of the view that its law and order machinery would be stretched.

An estimated Rs. 120-crore has been spent on the festival; half on building film festival-related infrastructure and the remaining on upgrading general facilities across the State. Special Mumbai-Goa flights will be pressed into service for the IFFI and festival desks will be put up at all major airports.

Also, to encourage film-buffs on a shoestring budget and students, 150 flats have been built near the main complex for accommodation at a cheap rate.

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