Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Goa government to relieve Mandovi of Casinos

The government of Goa has decided to shunt out the offshore casinos from the river Mandovi and the city's limits and instead relocate them at a minimum distance of atleast one nautical mile from the seashore,towards the Arabian sea within a period of 15 days.

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting yesterday after which the Chief Minister Mr Digambar Kamat briefed media persons about the decision and indicated that all the existing casinos operating from the river Mandovi will have to move out into the Arabian sea and will be allowed to come in the city only to refuel and replenish their stocks on a swift basis.

The casinos operating in the rivers of the Mandovi will therefore be issued notices to ensure compliance with the order to move out into the Arabian sea and be in the waters anywhere between 1 nautical mile to around 5 nautical miles from the seashore, which forms the state's territorial water limits. This would definitely relieve the Mandovi of excess traffic which was posing dangers to the navigation of various vessels.

The Chief Minister made it clear that the government of Goa, was earning a sizeable income through the casinos in Goa and said that the revenues help social causes in Goa.

The decision to shift the casinos may have been triggered by the threat made by the opposition leader in the assembly Mr Manohar Parrikar who has alleged irregularities over the permissions granted to various casinos besides pointing out the the lack of checks on seaworthiness of some of the casinos currently operating in the river Mandovi besides some which he alleged to be non-equipped with appropriate licences.

The BJP had served a deadline of March 15 to the government to shift all the casinos out of river Mandovi or face an agitation amidst allegations of scams and kickbacks involving bureaucrats and top officials within the government.

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