5 Casinos to stay in Mandovi till next year, Govt may make them on-shore!

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 31 March 2016 20:18 IST

No offshore casino would be shifted outside River Mandovi, at least for one more year. On the contrary, the fifth casino would also enter the river now.

In addition, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar is now considering why not to shift all the live casinos on the shore, in some hotels?

While not fulfilling its major election promise made in 2012, total five casinos would now operate from River Mandovi, till 31st March next year.

This is the third extension the BJP government has granted to the so called offshore casinos, during its four-year rule till date, by former CM Manohar Parrikar and now by his successor Parsekar.

And this is being done while assuring consistently that the BJP is bent upon shifting all the offshore casinos outside River Mandovi, somewhere deep in the sea.

“We are committed to our assurance just like Medium of Instruction in mother tongue. But we are helpless before the blunders committed by the Congress government”, CM Parsekar today told the media, while announcing his cabinet decision.

Contrary to CM’s proposal of shifting casinos on the land, deputy chief minister Francisco D’Souza has proposed to shift all the casinos in one place somewhere deep in the sea.

“They can build new vessels which can withstand in the deep sea and we can shift all the offshore casinos in the deep sea”, said D’Souza.

The Congress had permitted first offshore casino Caravela in 1999 by amending anti-gambling act, stating that the live gambling would not be held on Goan land but somewhere deep in the sea.

Since then, as the opposition, the BJP had been opposing casinos by alleging that the Congress is promoting a dangerous vice like gambling in Goa, under the guise of tourism.

After coming to power, the then Parrikar government granted first extension on 14 August 2013 for two more years to the existing four casinos.

The cabinet in 2013 had also decided that the Royal Flotel of Jaydev Mody’s Delta Pleasure Cruise Co Ltd would not be allowed to operate in River Mandovi since its licence was expiring after 31st March 2014.

The government has now renewed the licence of this fifth casino while permitting it in River Mandovi till alternate site is found.

The second cabinet meeting held on 28th August 2015 had extended these licences till today, while shortlisting four alternate sites: mouth of River Mandovi, Aguada Bay, River Zuari and River Chapora.

“These sites were opposed by the locals but the Captain of Ports has been told to revisit them and submit a proposal”, said Parsekar.

What this whole exercise of four long years would mean is that the offshore casinos would remain in River Mandovi while adding one more casino, making live casino gambling available on five vessels in the capital city of Goa.

And, yes, if CM Parsekar’s proposal is accepted, then the deep-sea casino gambling would be on Goan land!

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