Newly elected Congress MLA from the Panaji constituency, Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate met Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant yesterday to discuss relocation of offshore casinos from the River Mandovi.
According to news reports, Monserrate stated that Sawant had given him an assurance to move the casinos out of River Mandovi but added that the process may take some time.
“We discussed the casino issue, and Sawant said that he would hold a meeting and sort out the issue. He said it would take a bit of time but talks that talks have started (to remove the casinos from the Mandovi)”, Monserrate is quoted to have told The Times of India after his meeting with the Chief Minister.
Monserrate added that an amendment will be required to be brought to the existing legislation to facilitate the shifting of offshore casinos, stating that such an amendment is likely to be introduced in the legislative assembly during the monsoon session of the house.
The issue of offshore casinos being docked in the River Mandovi generated heated discussion during the Panaji by-elections, which were necessitated due to the death of former Chief Minister and sitting Panaji MLA, Manohar Parrikar.
Monserrate had promised to remove offshore casinos from Mandovi within 100 days of taking oath as MLA, during his campaign.
Former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had announced on the floor of the legislative assembly last year that offshore casinos would be shifted to a designated area on land within a fixed time span, along with other measures to regulate the casino industry, including appointment of a Gaming Commissioner.
Parrikar’s proposal has not materialised for the past one year and the issue of shifting offshore casinos has been in a limbo ever since the former Chief Minister’s prolonged illness and subsequent demise.