New Delhi/Panaji, Feb 1 IANS | 11 months ago

In a strong message, the Russian embassy Saturday termed the cancellation of an Indo-Russian music festival in Goa as an "insolent and a starkly unfriendly gesture" by the Goa government and warned against "further increase of hostility to Russian tourists" in the state.

The refusal to grant permission to hold the Great Live Music-2014, organised by a Russian company in Goa Jan 31-Feb 1 was "made under a contrived pretext at the last moment", the embassy said in a statement.

It said the move has "angered many - Indian and international musicians, numerous guests - and contradicts the common sense. It will inevitably affect the popularity of this tourist region".

The statement said the attempt to link the event "to the scandal over the local taxi drivers carrying Russians looks provocative".

"Such rash actions do not go in line with the intention stated by the government of Goa to turn this place into a world-class resort. Moreover, they contradict the traditions of friendship and mutual understanding which the peoples of Russia and India enjoy".

It hoped the Goa authorities would "manage to find a worthy way out of this situation. Further increase of hostility to Russian tourists in Goa, who make a significant financial contribution to the development of the state, must be stopped".

The state government Saturday declined to give permission to allow the Great Live Music-2014 - the second Russian-Indian musical festival.

The Goa ministry of tourism in a letter informed the organisers that holding the festival would be impossible until the settlement of a conflict between tourist operators and taxi drivers.

Several days earlier, Goa's taxi drivers went on a rally protesting against tourist operators working with Russian tourists and offering transport services to them.

The local drivers maintain that their livelihood has been snatched by tour operators who have grabbed Russian charter tourists.

(Posted on 02-02-2014)

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