This spring, Goa’s Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar gave the state’s five floating casinos until March 31, 2017 to find a permanent home other than the Mandovi river. On April 30, the Captain of Ports (CoP) proposed four potential docking sites but the casino operators rejected all four as unsuitable for their vessels’ operational requirements.
On Monday, the state Minister for Ports Administration Dilip Parulekar told the Legislative Assembly that the CoP had identified a suitable location on at Chicalim Bay on the Zuari river that would serve as a permanent dock for the five floating casinos.
Parulekar said the Chicalim Bay property “falls in the jurisdiction of Mormugao Port Trust.” This appears to be referring to the same property proposed earlier this month by a representative of the Chowgule Group, who noted that the Chicalim property had already been vetted by the Mormugao Port Trust.
However, local Chicalim residents expressed opposition to the Chowgule Group’s proposal, which led CM Parsekar to claim no one had yet mentioned anything to him about the Chowgule proposal. Given Monday’s report to the Assembly, Parsekar can no longer claim to be in the dark.
But it remains to be seen whether the casino operators intend to go anywhere without a fight. In rejecting the original four proposed docking sites, the companies cited a similar move that the MV Lila vessel was forced to undergo in 1998 that resulted in “major public unrest, protests and law and order situation.”
The operators went on to say that there hadn’t been a “single problem arising” from the casino industry in the past 18 years and thus they found “no good reason to disturb the industry and relocate them” from their current location.