The government has ordered shifting of the offshore casino cum floatel – MV Royale Deltin Caravela – from its present position near Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, between Chorao Island and the Ribandar village, to Mandovi river, adjacent to the rest of the four offshore casinos.
The assurance came from Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar after city MLA Sidharth Kunkalienkar met him Saturday morning with a delegation of the residents of Ribandar, who demanded immediate removal of the vessel from its present spot. The delegation also included Rupesh Halarnkar, the councillor of the Corporation of the City of Panaji, representing Ribandar ward.
The Chief Minister later told ‘The Navhind Times’ that the particular vessel would now be located on River Mandovi along the capital city. “The decision on the new location has been taken after considering that the particular vessel was originally anchored at the same place,” he added, maintaining that the Captain of Ports has been directed to make available mooring for the vessel at its new location.
Parsekar, who also holds the Home portfolio, said that if the vessel is able to travel under the bridges on the River Mandovi, then it would be shifted to its new location immediately. “However, if the height of the vessel is more than that of the two bridges, then the vessel will have to travel in reverse all the way to the sea, and arrive at its new location,” he said, mentioning that in such a case, it could take even a month for the shift, since it would be difficult for the vessel to travel in the sea and then arrive along the Panaji city, due to gusty monsoon winds.
It may be recalled that the state forest department had already communicated with the Captain of Ports as regards shifting the vessel from its present location as it is affecting the flora and fauna of the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Furthermore, the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) had also issued a show-cause notice to this vessel for operating without the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance.
Minister for Forests and Environment, Rajendra Arlekar, who took up the issue of shifting of MV Royale Deltin Caravela to another place, said that it was very difficult for the government to come to such a decision due to lack of support from the bureaucracy. “Probably, they (bureaucrats) did not understand the long term implications of this vessel being placed in the vicinity of a fragile ecological area,” he added, expressing satisfaction that the vessel is now being moved.
Meanwhile, following the assurance from the Chief Minister, the residents of Ribandar have suspended their ‘Ribandar Bandh’ agitation scheduled on July 25, in support of their demand to shift the particular vessel from its present location.