Minister for Ports Michael Lobo on Wednesday said that offshore casino vessels will remain in river Mandovi till the government comes out with a casino policy after which the government will decide whether the casino vessels should be shifted to Mopa or any other place.
Speaking to media at Secretariat, Lobo said that the government cannot disturb any business overnight, which is legal and that the casino business has been established in Goa and they have already invested in it.
“We have told the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant that the casino policy has to be in place. As per my opinion, it should come out in next six months, while the government has given an extension to offshore casino vessels to operate in river Mandovi. And the Chief Minister is also of the opinion that the work of constructing Mopa airport has to start,” he said.
Lobo pointed out that “when we say offshore casinos should be shifted to Mopa Planning and Development Authority jurisdiction, it would not be viable to shift them when airport is not ready.”
“Once the work of Mopa airport begins, the government will give a time-period of four or five years to offshore casino operators to buy the land there and shift their business on land,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, Lobo also said that one place has been identified for shifting one offshore casino vessel, which has agreed to move to other side of the river Mandovi and feasibility report about the same is awaited.
Sources told this daily that as of now there was no official proposal before the Captain of Ports on shifting of offshore casino vessels from river Mandovi.