Panaji: Opposition in the Goa Legislative Assembly on Wednesday took on Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar over the transfer of licence to an offshore casino, contradictory to the state government's policy.
Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte, while raising the issue during the Question Hour, said the licence given for M V Caravela vessel was cancelled, but, was later renewed and transferred in the name of M V Royale Floatel.
"How can the licence be transferred when it was cancelled? All licences that expire after 2014 were not supposed to be renewed. The licence for Floatel was renewed through corrigendum," Khaunte said.
Parsekar, who got up to reply stuck clueless several times, and said no more casinos would be allowed in the state even as he maintained that the licences were not given during the BJP government in Goa.
"Captain of Ports (department) has given licence to M V Royale Floatel to operate Mandovi river. We have not given them the licence. We stick to our stand that additional licences would not be given," the chief minister said.
The House witnessed noisy scenes during the Question Hour when Parsekar questioned the logic behind Khaunte raising the issue when there are no casinos in his constituency.
The Opposition members, including independent MLA Naresh Sawal, Congress legislator Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and others joined Khaunte in protest against Parsekar's statement.
Responding to a supplementary question, Parsekar said currently there are four offshore casinos operating in Goa and all four of them have given a written assurance to move out of Mandovi river and that the government is looking for alternative space to relocate them.
"These casinos were not given (licence) during BJP government tenure. But those who have invested, we can't ditch them. We are considering them sympathetically. I don't even know who all own the casinos," Parsekar said.