peaking to TOI after the cabinet meeting, chief minister Digambar Kamat said three offshore casinos will be shifted towards the Ribandar side of the river in the first phase. The four other vessels will be relocated in the second phase, he added.
As per the CoP's proposal (TOI, September 9), three offshore casinos are to be moved to the eastern side of the Mandovi bridge, while two each will be shifted to Betim and the southern side of the river.
Kamat said the move is "basically to decongest the Mandovi channel". Pointing out that the state government earns over Rs 50 crore from offshore casino operations, he added that the operators were given licences in the past without specifying where they could operate from. Further, there were no details given about the casino vessels.
"Hence, when the government decided to shift the casinos to the Aguada anchorage, they (casino operators) went to court saying their vessels would not be able to withstand the rough conditions of the Arabian Sea," said Kamat.
"My loud thinking is that when the vessels come for renewal, which is two years from now, they could be asked to go for new ships which could operate in the deep sea or the Aguada anchorage," Kamat added.