Herald: Casino lobby has become ‘Big Daddy’ of BJP: Congress

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Casino lobby has become ‘Big Daddy’ of BJP: Congress

14 Mar 2019 05:47am IST
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14 Mar 2019 05:47am IST
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Team Herald

PANJIM: The sudden entry of off-shore casino ‘Big Daddy’ in River Mandovi has created ripples in the State prompting Ports Minister Jayesh Salgaonkar to inquire into the haste in which the vessel has been allowed. Haryana politician Gopal Kanda’s Golden Globe Hotels Private Limited (GGHPL) owned vessel has replaced M V San Domino, which was leased by the company for one year.

“I will hold a meeting to look into the haste in bringing the offshore casino vessel while the election code is already in force. They could have waited to get proper permission before entering the river,” the minister said speaking to Herald. He conceded that a file in this regard was moved within the government prior to the model code of conduct but an approval was held back due to technical issues and certain aspects had to be looked into. 

Herald was the first to report in its edition on March 9 that GGHPL’s vessel is expected to enter the river soon. ‘Big Daddy’ is in fact the new version of the very controversial M V Lucky 7 offshore casino vessel that ran aground Miramar beach in July, 2017. It was salvaged after a much hardship and towed for repairs at Mormugao Port Trust in October 2017 and eventually for dry dock in Cochin. 

Government sources said the three-decker vessel has already obtained permissions like Certificate of Registry and Certificate of Survey that includes fitness NOC under the Inland Vessels Act. “The certificates are issued under the Inland Vessels Act by the competent authority and by virtue of it, the vessel can enter the River and even move from one to another in the inland waters of Goa,” said the source. 

There is however other side of the story with a source stating that the vessel has permission to anchor at Karwar port and needs fresh permission under the Indian Vessels to anchor in Goan waters.

The GGHPL has been claiming that it was the second casino to obtain permission to operate in River Mandovi and they had paid a huge amount of money to the government towards the interest and penalty charges for anchoring of the Casino from 2011–16. The vessel was not in operation during this period. Over a year ago, the company also paid fees for the years 2017-21. 

The Congress party has come down heavily on the government alleging the latter is hand in gloves with the casino lobby. “It has proved our point that casino lobby is running this government and deciding BJP policies. Moreover, casino lobby itself has become Big Daddy of BJP,” party’s chief spokesperson Sunil Kawthankar said in a media statement issued soon after the vessel emerged in the congested river. 
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