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Special team to monitor sewage generation by casino vessels

Panaji: Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral on Friday said that the government will conduct water audit of the offshore casinos and sewage generation of the vessels will be monitored by a committee comprising of scientists.

A special team for this will be appointed by the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB).

Cabral criticised Congress Goa chief Girish Chodankar for his statements linking BJP to the casinos.

“Chodankar is an outdated leader. Congress should change him first,” Cabral said reacting to Congress’ allegation on release of waste water and sewage by the casino vessels in River Mandovi.

Cabral ruled out offshore casino vessels discharging waste water into the Mandovi and said that he would be conducting an audit of water around these vessels.

“There is no scope to release sewage and waste water into the river, as GSPCB and Captain of Ports have started sealing sewage tanks of the casino vessels since 2014. Whenever they want to discharge waste water from the tanks, the casino operators must take prior permission of GSPCB and Captain of Ports,” he said.

According to him, the casino operators discharge sewage water into a dump barge and once it is filled, the water is released into tankers at jetty to be later taken to the sewage treatment plant at Tonca, Panaji.

Cabral said that the water audit of casino vessels will be conducted from July 1 in a scientific manner and there will be a special team to monitor the water intake and release by casino vessels. He also said that the officials of GSPCB have been paying visits to the vessels 7-8 times every month.

The minister blamed the GPCC chief for misguiding people over the casino issue and said that he was ignorant about the facts. Cabral said that a lot of employment is dependant on casinos; hence, closing the industry is not the solution.

“We will find a solution to this issue. However, we cannot shut down the casino industry, as it provides employment. The government, under the leadership of Pramod Sawant, is working on a casino policy. We will put in place a Gaming Commission to regulate the casino industry soon,” he said.

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