Govt criticised over offshore casino issue



Stating that the people of Goa will not allow live gaming casinos on land, independent MLAs Rohan Khaunte and Naresh Sawal condemned the proposal to allow off-shore casinos to shift on shore, which is under consideration of the government.
Khaunte and Sawal said that the attraction of the casino industry is live gaming, and if it is allowed on land then there would be vicious repercussions. “Present government is in a confused state,” they added.
Claiming that the government was in the process of granting permissions and licence to MV Maharaja to operate off shore live gaming casino, Khaunte said that the government is yet to appoint a gaming commissioner despite the Goa Public Gambling (Amendment) Bill, 2012 passed unanimously.
Stating that the issue of shifting of casinos from the River Mandovi has become a joke, he said that shifting of casinos into the deep sea was a promise made by the BJP on the eve of the 2012 assembly elections.
Meanwhile, Curtorim MLA, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, on Saturday, hit out at the BJP government for making a U-turn and giving one year extension to casinos to carry on with business in the river Mandovi, instead of fulfilling its earlier promise of shifting the casinos.
Speaking to the media, Lourenco said that this is the biggest U-turn of the BJP government.
“The government says due to technical and administrative difficulties, it had to give extension. I, as a Congress legislator demand that the government has to come clean on the issue. The former chief minister, who is now the Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar had assured in the House in 2012 soon after he came to power. He had held a candlelight procession demanding action against the casinos. He had even alleged that the Congress leaders had taken money from the casinos operators, when he was in the opposition. Now, that his BJP government in place, why it cannot take a right decision and fulfil the promise”, he said.
“I am strongly demanding that the state government should come clean on the casino issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sudip Tamankar, speaking to media demanded with the government to auction all the earlier 89 mining leases along with the fresh ones.