Mumbai: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday cleared that casinos are not welcome in the country while he pitched that organisations doing "good work" like Yoga guru Baba Ramdev's Patanjali group and Sri Sri Ravishankar's 'Art of Living' should create facilities at the over 1,300 islands, which are to be opened up for tourism across the country.
"We oppose things like casinos, and I will not give permissions for that. People will also not tolerate such things," Gadkari said at an industry event here. Stating that "Art of Living (of Sri Sri Ravishankar) and Ramdev Baba (of Patanjali group) are doing good work," Gadkari asked them to start ayurvedic spas to give massages and ayurvedic treatment at these islands being opened up.
The Union shipping minister said apart from ayurveda and traditional wellness activities, "entertainment facilities are also welcome on the islands but definitely not casinos".
The functioning of the casinos has been a contentious issue in the country and only the BJP-ruled Goa, the UT of Daman and Sikkim have functional places of gambling.
As per the Constitution, gambling and allowing casinos are a state subject. Referring to a conference held earlier to leverage on the tourism potential offered by the islands and lighthouses, Gadkari said the government has decided to open up 1,300 islands and 280 lighthouses.
He said there is a good demand for activities like yoga and traditional Indian wellness programmes from foreigners and apart from the foreign exchange (forex) it will also help in generating employment.