Goa offshore casinos should not be relocated in river: Cong

Opposition Congress in Goa on Monday opposed the move of state government to relocate the off-shore casino vessels in the river saying these vessels should be sent in the sea.

Panaji: Opposition Congress in Goa on Monday opposed the move of state government to relocate the off-shore casino vessels in the river saying these vessels should be sent in the sea.

"Initially when the off-shore casinos came to Goa, they were meant to be away from the city, means to be off-shore, in sea and not in rivers," Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Luizinho Faleiro said.

The opposition Congress' reaction comes in the wake of recent announcement by state Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar that the off-shore casino vessels would be shifted from River Mandovi to Aguada Bay, which is overlooking Miramar beach.

Faleiro said state should not renew the licences if casino mounted vessels don't shift into the sea.

"The casinos have no right to be operated in the river. Rivers cannot be used for business," he said.

The Congress has pitched their demand pointing?out to the recent report by Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) which has said the rivers are getting highly polluted.

"We may not worship rivers but we respect the rivers and the GSPCB report says Mandovi is fully polluted and the river cannot take more pollution," he said.

"When government speaks of shifting the casinos to Aguada bay, that means shifting from one point of river to another point. BJP had promised to shift them out of River Mandovi," Falerio said.

The GPCC chief further demanded that casino culture should be banned, whether it is on-shore or off-shore.

"It is an evil affecting Goan society. Many young Goan youths are falling for this culture ruining their life and destroying the families," he said.

"Just because state government is earning some crores of money in form revenue, we cannot destroy the society. Casinos needs to be banned as they are creating hell for our state, especially youths," he added.

"If state government is so earnest to remove casinos, then don't renew their license, ask them to move out. Take all other political parties into confidence, we will support you," Falerio said.