Opposition to Relocation Growing
Even as the opposition to government’s decision to relocate the floating casinos in Goa is growing with every passing day, the off-shore casino operators on Tuesday expressed their willingness to withdraw the case they had filed against the government before the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court.
Lawyers representing the casino operators informed the Division Bench that the decision will be taken only after their clients receive a copy of the cabinet decision taken last week to relocate the floating casinos at different places along river Mandovi.
The Court has given the casino owners till Wednesday to make up their mind failing which the matter will be taken up on Thursday. The court is hearing the casino operators plea against the government’s decision last year to relocate their vessels in the Aguada bay.
It may be recalled that in a total turnaround, the State cabinet on 15th September decided to relocate three casinos to the East of the Mandovi bridge near Ribandar. While two others would be relocated towards the Betim side of the river, another two would be anchored towards the Panjim side.
This decision has been termed as a sell out to the casino operators by various organizations including the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. The Aam Aurat Admi Against Gambling pointed out that the government had promised on the floor of the house that the floating casinos would be taken away from River Mandovi and wondered how it could now go back on that promise.
And while villagers of Ribandar have stoutly opposed the government’s move to relocate three casinos off their village, residents and particularly the fishing community of Betim has now raised the banner of protest against the same.
Fishermen from Reis Magos and surrounding areas expressed fears that anchoring the floating vessels near Betim would affect their livelihood as the fish will stop coming to these areas due to the vibrations of the vessel and also the shell fish which is the only source of livelihood to many will be adversely affected due to the resultant pollution caused by these vessels.
Dilip Parulekar, who represents the Saligao constituency in the Assembly also stoutly opposed the government’s decision and argued that the government was bound to honour the commitment made on the floor of the House to relocate the casinos in the deep sea.