International edition
September 23, 2021

The offshore casino lobby moved the high court against the cabinet decision

Goa to stop five offshore casinos after their permits lapse

(India).- Goa Ports Minister Francisco Pacheco told the state assembly that no activity would be permitted now on the five offshore casinos whose no objection certificates (NOC) for berthing off the Mandovi River have expired.

I assure the house that all activities on these five ships will be sealed,” Pacheco said, promising prompt action.

The minister was replying to a barrage of queries from the opposition, who charged the government with being hand in glove with the casino operators. According to information tabled before the assembly, the NOCs of the five - MV Pride of Goa, MV The Leela, MV Casino Royale, MC San Domino and MV Caravela - out of the six casino vessels had expired earlier this year.

The NOCs of the remaining vessel, MV Arabian Sea King, expires in October. The NOCs had been granted to the vessels to berth in the Mandovi river, which comes under the jurisdiction of the captain of ports department, which governs minor ports in the state.

The cabinet had, earlier this year, resolved to shift the offshore casino vessels from the Mandovi river to seaward anchorage at the Aguada bay within 15 days, after a note moved by the advocate general warned that casinos “may cause navigational problems to barges and also spoil the natural beauty of the area.”

The offshore casino lobby moved the high court against the cabinet decision. Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar had earlier accused the government of wilfully delaying action against the offshore casino industry. “When an NOC is not valid, anyone going on these ships is risking their life. Who will take responsibility in case any accident happens?” the former chief minister said.

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