Panaji: In what can spell further trouble for the offshore casino industry in Goa, Union Minister for Tourism (independent charge) Sripad Naik has said "he is against the offshore casinos".
"Nothing has been decided on the offshore casinos` future in the state (Goa). But personally I am against encouraging offshore casinos," Naik told PTI over phone from Delhi Wednesday ahead of his visit to the state.
The BJP-led government in Goa is already in the process of forming a gaming policy.
"Finally it is the policy of the state government that would take care of these offshore casinos. Manohar Parrikar-led government has already announced that it will shift the offshore casino vessels out of Goa waters and also ban the entry of locals," the minister said.
Goa Cabinet had last year decided not to allow any more offshore casinos while moving out the existing casinos in next two years.
The state has five offshore casino vessels which are currently anchored in Mandovi river near Panaji.
Naik, who got elected from North Goa seat on BJP ticket in the recent Lok Sabha elections, said clearing tourism infrastructure projects would be his priority.
He stressed on strengthening tourism infrastructure which is a driver for growth of this sector in the country.
"There are several tourism related projects which are caught up in bureaucracy. We will ensure that they are cleared," he said.
Naik, a four-time MP from North Goa and BJP loyalist, was inducted into the Modi Cabinet after he defeated his rival Congress candidate with a major margin during the recent Lok Sabha polls.