On Friday, the panchayat body held a meeting that was specially convened for this purpose, and held a vote as to whether the casino boats could be relocated to the River Chapora. The vote against the relocation was unanimous.
The reasons given for the rejection of the casino boats were noted. The casino boats would affect fishing in the area, depriving a number of community members of their livelihood. In addition to this, concerns have been expressed that the youth in the area will want to visit the casinos, and will stand the chance of becoming addicted to gambling. It is also known that the casinos’ activities are likely to add a lot of pollution to the area when untreated water is released into the water.
Earlier in the week, Minister Dayanand Mandrekar, said that he backs the decision of the panchayats.
Mandrekar said: “The stance of the panchayats is my stance. Why bring casinos into the villages? The government has proposed the shifting of casinos and the people’s response is loud and clear and the government should understand that.
He further explained: “In villages, many people are dependent on fishing activities undertaken in river waters and at the mouth of the sea. In Panaji, it is not so. Why shift casinos, when it should be stopped. It is the wrongdoing of the Congress government, which we are facing.”
The Sarpanch of Oxel Pahchayat, Rama Parab, said: “Casinos have a negative social impact, it spoils the people, especially the youth with the lure to earn fast money. People in the village are against casinos and if the government tries to bring it forcefully, we will not hesitate to hit the streets.”