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Casino Owners gets Stiff – Give us Infra Then only We Move out of Mandovi

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Casinos are here to stay is a mute understanding which prevails between the casino owners and politicians and the general public is well aware of this fact. There has been long discussion about who brought the casinos in and who will push them out. In simple words now the situation is WHO WILL BELL THE CAT? Last week the opposition leader had announced that his party made a mistake by allowing the casino in the river Mandovi and now they are ready to support the ruling government in a process of pushing the casinos out of the Mandovi River.

After the casino owners came to understand that the government is making plans to push them out of the Mandovi River they have started to work on the defence mechanism as how to get rid of this unwanted circumstances. The recent statement given by the president of Offshore Casino Owners Association to the media makes their stand very clear that if they have to move out of Mandovi river then government had to provide them with proper infrastructure such as Jetties, disposal of sewage and garbage facilities besides the safety of customers and Roads. Is it too much to ask for? Anyways getting back to the subject, According to the news published by the TOI, President of the association Srinivas Nayak said “We are happy to move out of River Mandovi, if the government prepares the infrastructure facilities.”  He was referring to the decision of the captain of ports who has identified four spots to move casinos out of River Mandovi by December 2015. These spots are in the Rivers Sal, Chapora and Zuari and the Aguada bay.

According to Mr. Nayak the casino vessels can be moved into the choppy waters of Aguada Bay, but there will be no customers coming to casinos due to the seasickness “We go there and do what? Customers may not come,” he said. The association has also raised the concern over the safety of the customers by asking who will be held responsible if feeder boats meet with an accident while dropping customers to vessels plying at Aguada bay.  The association wants government to have talk with the affected people, which includes the fishing community and others “We have advised the state government to form a committee comprising the captain of ports, department of river navigation, fisheries department, Navy, Coast Guard, Goa state pollution control board (GSPCB), fishermen, barge owners and others to conduct a feasibility study before moving the casinos out from River Mandovi,” Nayak said.

The association has out rightly rejected the option of entering the Chapora, Sal and Zuari rivers as these rivers need to be dredged, it further said that if these rivers are dredged then there is a fear of fishing communities might get effected. According the association Goa State Pollution Control Board has certified that the Casino vessels are not polluting the River Mandovi and at the same time, the captain of ports has stated that casino vessels are not blocking the navigational channel.

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It is to be recalled that the ports minister Dilip Parulekar has recently held a meeting with the offshore casino owners and tried to find out the difficulties faced by them while relocating their vessels. He was also concerned about the difficulties that could be encountered by the captain of ports while relocating the casinos from River Mandovi. Meanwhile government has decided to create the necessary infrastructure at the identified sites for the smooth relocation of casino vessels. But the doubts will still remains whether the casinos will move out of the River Mandovi? Please do not forget to leave your valuable feedback on this issue.

Rajesh Ghadge

Source: TNN       

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