Goa’s chief minister pleads ignorance of private operator’s offer to berth casinos

Goa's chief minister pleads ignorance of private operator's offer to berth casinos

goa-chief-minister-floating-casino-planThe chief minister of the Indian state of Goa is pleading ignorance of a private company’s offer to provide a permanent home to the state’s shipboard casinos.

Goa’s five floating casinos have until March 31, 2017 to find somewhere other than the Mandovi river to call home. Last week, a representative of the Chowgule Group claimed to have alerted Goa’s government to a parcel of land on the Zuari river near the town of Chicalim where the state’s casinos could permanently berth.

On Sunday, Goa’s Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (pictured) told reporters that he was “not aware of any such proposal which is related to the relocation of offshore casinos to the Chicalim Bay and there is no such issue that has come up before the government.” Parsekar claimed the whole question had been invented by the media.

It’s entirely possible that Parsekar’s apparent case of memory loss may have something to do with the unanimous opposition local villagers’ representatives have expressed to the Chowgule Group’s plan. Their representative in the state’s legislative assembly – a minister in Parsekar’s cabinet – has also expressed her opposition.

At the other end of the country, the Union Territory of Puducherry’s proposal to launch Goa-style casino ships is meeting its own opposition. The proposal was put forward last week by the ruling Congress party as a bid to boost the region’s tourism industry.

However, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is vowing to engage in ‘massive agitation’ if the plan proceeds. The BJP’s local leader V Saminathan said the government’s authorization of casinos would only “give rise to unchecked gambling and lure the youth into various questionable practices including alcoholism.”