ccording to officials at the Captain of Ports (CoP), five of the seven casino operators have agreed to a new plan suggested by the state government to shift to new locations within the river Mandovi rather than agree to the earlier proposal to move to Aguada bay. The new plan will help decongest the present navigation channel in the Mandovi river, CoP officials said.
Officials disclosed that the government recently convened a meeting with representatives from the seven floating casinos in order to find a solution to the current imbroglio. It maybe pointed out here that, last year, the Captain of Ports served letters to all the owners of the vessels directing them to shift their vessels from the river Mandovi to outer anchorage at Aguada bay. However, six offshore casinos - Maharajah, Caravela, Leela, Casino Royale, Arabian Sea King and Pride of Goa challenged the government's decision to shift them into the Aguada bay and had asserted that the decision was violative of the principles of natural justice and fairplay.
Interestingly, while the off-shore casinos managed to get a court stay on the shifting order, Boa Sorte arrived on the scene and was given a NOC from the captain of ports to ply in the river Mandovi in February.
Officials further disclosed that five off-shore casino operators have agreed to the new proposal to relocate their vessels within the river. However, two operators - San Domino which houses the Maharajah Casino and Casino Rio initially refused to accept the plan for their new anchoring spots, but later verbally agreed, officials said.
The government has therefore decided to shift three vessels - Casino Rio, Arabian Sea King and the Caravela to the eastern side of the Mandovi bridge while the Pride of Goa and Boa Sorte are to be repositioned and anchored on the southern bank of the river - towards the capital city, officials disclosed.
San Domino and Casino Royale are to be anchored on the northern bank of the river - towards Betim. The file is currently pending with the state cabinet for approval, sources said.
TOI had earlier reported that none of the off-shore casinos plying their business in the river Mandovi have valid NOCs from the state government, except for new entrant Boa Sorte whose NOC also expired on August 23.