Offshore casinos parked in Goa’s Mandovi river should be disbanded and the Panaji coastline should be developed with an onshore casino strip as a hub, on the lines of the Hong Kong harbour, Goa’s Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai said on Sunday.
“The casinos housed in ships should be removed because it causes pollution and the harbour should be developed on both sides like the Hong Kong harbour. There should be a tourism circuit. This has always been our demand,” Sardesai said.
He was responding to questions from reporters, after some news reports on Sunday said that the Goa government was working on a policy for the casino industry, which involved setting up of “casino towns” in the coastal state.
When in the opposition from 2007-2012, the BJP had vociferously opposed casino operations in Goa, most of the licences for which had been granted by previous Congress-led coalition governments.
Top BJP leaders, including Parrikar, on several occasions had promised to close down the offshore casino industry once it assumed power in the coastal state.
Once the BJP rode to power in 2012, the Congress in turn accused the saffron party of being in cahoots with the casino lobby, especially after successive Parrikar and Laxmikant Parsekar led coalition governments headed by the BJP failed to close down offshore casino operations.