Government monitoring public dissent against casinos’ relocation: Goa CM

Panaji, Aug 22 (IANS) Popular anger against the proposed relocation of casinos from the Mandovi river off Panaji to other rivers in the state’s hinterland is being monitored, Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar has said.

Relocation of five offshore casinos to the picturesque Chapora bay, 25 km from Panaji and to both ends of the Zuari bay in South Goa, has resulted in protests by village groups in the vicinity of the proposed sites and legislators of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Asked about the public uproar against the move, Parsekar said: “We are monitoring the situation.”

He also said the proposed locations were not finalised and the names had been put in the public domain to invite objections and suggestions from the general public.

Asked about the opposition to the casino relocation plan from the ruling BJP’s own legislators like Vishnu Wagh and Water Resources minister Dayanand Mandrekar, Parsekar said wryly: “We have asked for suggestions from the public, not ministers.”

Goa has nine onshore casinos located in the numerous five star resorts in the beach state as well as five offshore casinos.

Ahead of the 2012 state assembly poll, the BJP, which had led a sustained campaign against the casino industry for several years, promised that if voted to power, its government would rid the Mandovi of the casinos.

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