Existing casino renewal only if moved into the sea

PTI, PANAJI | 14 August 2013 18:58 IST

Goa Government on Wednesday decided against allowing any more offshore casinos in the coastal state and also formed a policy framework to ensure that existing casino vessels move out of Mandovi river within next two years.

The state Cabinet, which met at Porvorim ministerial block this afternoon, discussed the issue of offshore casinos and ruled out granting any fresh licences for any offshore facility.

The issue had invited criticism for the Manohar Parrikar-led government.

No more offshore casinos in Goa: Parrikar

“It is decided that government will not allow any more offshore casinos in the state,” the Chief Minister said emerging from the Cabinet meeting.

Parrikar clarified that the ban on additional casinos was applicable only for the offshore facilities and not for those on land.

The Cabinet also adopted a policy framework wherein licences of those offshore casinos expiring before March 31, 2014 could be renewed but with a rider that they will move out of Mandovi river within next two years.

“Those casinos whose licences are expiring after March 31, 2014 shall not be renewed," Parrikar said.  

He said, "There are five casinos in Mandovi river at present, and within two years, all of them will move into the mid-sea.”

“They (casinos) will not be allowed to operate in any other river,” the Chief Minister said, adding that the BJP had promised to remove casinos from Mandovi river before its tenure ends in year 2018.

Parrikar alleged that the erstwhile Congress government had invited casinos in the state and his government was wrongly accused of sheltering offshore casinos.

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The citizens of Goa owning a small land mass of about 3750 sq. Km. with rich natural beauty and no. of river systems and beach line, are under tremendous environmental threats in terms of land, water and nature. The presence and operation of casino boats in river Mandovi and constructio of manmade structures/reclaimation in river regime is environmental disaster. .The casinos/gambling activity in serene Goan environment is a breeding ground for social evils and criminal temparament in simple and peace living Goan society and their future generations. Casino boats anchored in scenic river front of River Mandovi and esturine environment of sea is ecologically unacceptable. MoEF requires Environmental Impact Assessment of any such venture which may have impacts on environment and people. Has it been carried out for this casino boats?NGTcan take serious view of the casinos boats only if there is a strong political and people's will. Probably we lack it. Common man in Goa needs a Environmental awareness on the various issues touching their day today life.River Mandovi and for that matter each river and beach line belongs to common man of Goa, an heritage tobe preserved for our future generations. These natural assets are in public domain and its high time our dynamic CM must take bold stand on this issues resolve it !

- Manohar V. Korgaonkar, New Delhi and Panaji: Goa | 25 th August 2013 00:07

 

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