CCP Mayor Uday Madkaikar is steadfast on putting a stop to renewal of casino licenses despite the fact that it will lead to a loss of revenue to the corporation. In an interview to Shaikh Jamaluddin, he gives more insight into his decision over casinos. Excerpts:-
Q: Are you firm on the decision that you announced recently of not renewing casino licenses permanently from March 2020?
I am not going to budge from my decision on casinos at all costs. We had promised our voters that if we get elected we will shift casinos from River Mandovi and Atanasio Monserrate alias Babush had assured this in the Assembly election manifesto.
Q: What is the public impression of casinos?
People have a very bad impression of casinos that there is prostitution going on in them. There is traffic problem, parking problem, besides social problems, because of casinos.
Q: What will be the impact on the CCP revenue if the decision is implemented?
The Corporation of City of Panaji will lose a lot of revenue from tourists’ visits as well as parking fees from four wheelers, two wheelers, besides revenue from hotels and others. On an average, we are going to lose Rs 35-40 lakh annually if we shift the casinos from Mandovi river. But we are not concerned about losing revenue, we are interested in the good of voters whom we have assured of shifting casinos, while there will always be ways for generating revenue.
Q: Minister for Ports Michael Lobo wanted the CCP to withdraw the resolution on casinos. Will you succumb to any political pressure?
Michael Lobo will shift one casino to Calangute within a week and so I have requested him to shift all offshore casinos since Calangute is a tourism spot and people from all over the world visit the popular beach belt. There is time of six months during which he can shift casinos one by one.