Casinos to submit unconditional undertaking that they will shift once an alternative site is identified
PANJIM: Even as the Government is yet to draft a policy to regulate the casino industry, the State Cabinet on Friday granted yet another six months extension till September 30, to the offshore casinos to continue their operations in River Mandovi.
The extension is been granted from April 1, 2019 to September 30, 2019 by the cabinet via a circulation.
A six-month extension granted earlier from October 1, 2018 will expire on March 31, this month.
Since August 2014, the initial deadline set by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, during its earlier tenure for offshore casino vessels to move out of River Mandovi when their licences were expired, the Government has been granting repeated extensions to the casino operators to continue their operations.
There are six offshore casinos operating in River Mandovi.
The cabinet note stated that the casinos will have to submit an unconditional undertaking, that they will shift the casinos out of River Mandovi whenever an alternate feasible site is finalized by the government or on or before September 30, 2019.
Government had earlier identified alternative site at Aguada Bay, Zuari, Chapora and River Sal for shifting of these casinos. However, owing to the opposition from the locals, the plan was halted. Since then, government has not been able to identify any alternate location.
Recently, the Chief Minister had last year in July, announced that government is in process of drafting a Casino policy, under which a gaming commissioner would be appointed to keep a watch on the casino operations.
He had even said that from January 2019, Goans will not be allowed on casinos, as the Government intends to restrict the entry of locals.
Earlier in the day, the cabinet meeting which was called at noon at Chief Minister’s personal residence at Dona Paula was cancelled at the last minute. The reason for the cancellation is not known.
Meanwhile, the State Cabinet has also granted its nod for land acquisition for doubling of railway line from Margao to Kulem by South Western Railway projects.