Goa government will not renew licences of the offshore casino vessels if they do not move out of Mandovi river once their current permission expires, chief minister Manohar Parrikar said on Monday even as the opposition members grilled the minister for ports over the issue of fitness certificates to casinos in the river Mandovi. As the discussion on casinos was on during zero hour, St Cruz Congress MLA Atanasio Monserrate questioned where the government would house casinos as the chief minister had said that casinos would be shifted out of the Mandovi by 2015. Parrikar said where to shift is the lookout of the casinos and if they did not shift, the government would not renew their licences.

Earlier, pointing to the written answer given to his starred question, Porvorim independent MLA Rohan Khaunte asked why casino Pride of Goa was issued fitness certificate under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 whereas two other casinos – Casino Royale and Boa Sorte – were issued fitness certificates under the Inland Vessels Act, 1917. Khaunte said that it was preferable that casinos be issued fitness certificates under the Merchant Shipping Act, as it was stricter and would ensure better safety of people visiting the casinos.

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While Khaunte was sparring with ports minister Laxmikant Parsenkar on the issue, Parrikar rose to state that the issue actually pertained to the home ministry and he would answer it if it was posed to the home ministry. Khaunte pointed to the rigorous procedures involved in the granting of fitness certificates to casinos and demanded how another casino, Horseshoe applied for fitness certificate on July 21, 2014 and obtained it on the same day. Parsekar clarified that the Horseshoe was registered in Karwar and that the Goa ports department had only endorsed that registration.

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