The state legislative assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party, has agreed that four of Goa’s offshore casinos may remain on the River Mandovi at this time. The state government has noted that the casinos may remain where they are located until next year up until the time that the government ends its time in office.
The four casinos that may remain anchored on the River Mandovi are MV Casino Royale, MV Pride of Goa, MV Horseshoe Casino, and MV Boa Sorte.
Dilip Parulekar, the Minister for Ports, explained that at the cabinet meeting that was held on 28th August 2015, after much deliberation, an extension was granted to the River Mandovi casinos, allowing the casinos to relocate between 30th August 2015 and 31st March 2016.
Manohar Parrikar, the Chief Ministerial Candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said: “Parulekar also informed the House in his written reply that “No notices have been issued to casino ships by Captain of Ports, during the last five years to move out of river Mandovi. However, the government has entrusted the task to the department of Captain of Ports for exploring the possibilities of relocating all the four offshore casinos and one passenger vessel from river Mandovi to another sheltered locality/ rivers within the jurisdiction of the inland waterways of Goa.”
At this time, alternative sites have been looked into. The department has recommended that the three viable options are the River Chapora, the River Mandovi, or the River Zuari. Two of the sites, however, are only able to be used before the monsoon season, with the offshore casino vessels having to be relocated to their current positions each year until it is once again safe to return to the potential new locations after the monsoon period.
The Captain of Port has noted that the government needs to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is available before relocating the vessels. For this reason, the earlier deadline of 31st March is not realistic.