This government can convert trees to grass by passing an ordinance…so why can’t casinos be shut down too? is there a will for such a move is the question ?
Chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Friday said that at a time when the central government has been soliciting investments in India, casinos in the state can’t be shut down. Interestingly, he also insisted that he hadn’t given any permissions to MV Flotal, which is presently docked in River Mandovi off Choraoisland.
Speaking to reporters, he said his policy wasn’t to increase casinos in Goa but to raise tariffs to deter the common man from visiting them. “Because of an increase in tariffs, there has been a decrease in onshore casinos in the state. There were 18 land-based casinos earlier. This number has now been reduced to a single digit,” he added.
The chief minister went on to state that his government hasn’t encouraged the addition of new casinos and that if the existing offshore casinos have to be removed, due procedure would have to be followed. “My government has been working towards this objective and the Captain of Ports has already been directed to identify an alternative location,” he said.
Explaining that the central government has been organizing a slew of summits to attract investors to India, Parsekar said that those who have invested in the state earlier couldn’t be abruptly asked to leave. “I will not do that (ask them to leave abruptly). The concerned parties will approach the courts and obtain a stay on the government’s decision,” he stated.
A day earlier, anti-casino groups had demanded that the government shift casinoCaravela away from the Chorao island in River Mandovi within 15 days.
When asked about the ultimatum, Parsekar took a dig at the earlier Congressgovernment. “I’ve said, time and again, that I have not permitted any new casinos in the state. In fact, these very casinos were allowed by those who are now opposing them. All my government is doing is renewing permits to existing casinos. I have not given permission to casino Caravela. Rather, it has obtained approvals from various departments and it is up to the company concerned to decide whether it wants to move the vessel from Chorao,” he said.
The chief minister also expressed a desire to appoint a gaming commission as soon as possible and said that a file in this regard is already in circulation.