Khaunte says policy to ‘drive out’ existing vessels from river almost finalised
PANJIM: After Ports Minister Jayesh Salgaonkar, Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte is the second member of the cabinet to express discontent with the entry of offshore casino vessel ‘Big Daddy’ in River Mandovi.
“I strongly oppose the entry of the Big Daddy in the Mandovi. We have almost finalised a policy to drive out the existing vessels and clear the River Mandovi and this is a sign of disappointment. Bureaucracy rules the State while we watch in disappointment,” Khaunte tweeted on Thursday.
A day earlier Salgaonkar had questioned the hasty decision to introduce the vessel during the code of conduct. “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 had said.
The government had held back final approval due to technical issues and scrutiny of certain other aspects.
Soon after the vessel was docked in the river, replacing San Domino, Congress hit out at the BJP for allowing the casino alleging the government is hand in glove with the casino lobby.
For government, it is just a vessel not casino: nilesh Cabral
Following criticism from various quarters, Power Minister Nilesh Cabral said the new boat that has entered the River Mandovi is just a vessel as of now.
“You are telling me it is a casino, what we know is it is a vessel which has come to the port. Whether it is a casino or not we would come to know only when they apply for any licences,” Cabral said, replying to queries during a press conference.
He said any vessel which comes to the port cannot be denied permission.