Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar has defended state government’s stand to support offshore and other casinos, saying the state’s economy is dependent on it but he does not support increasing their number.
“The state’s economy is dependent on casinos. But at the same time it should not be misunderstood that I am supporting to increase the number of casinos in the state,” Parsekar told reporters in Panaji on Saturday.
Parsekar said there were a number of locals employed with the casinos.
“I have taken information about how many Goans are employed on casinos. The casinos create direct and indirect employment opportunities,” Parsekar said.
He also denied that the government has plans to shift offshore casino vessel (Deltin Caravela), anchored in river Mandovi near Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, on the outskirts of Panaji city.
“No one has moved any file or note to me asking to shift the offshore casino,” Parsekar said.
State forest minister Rajendra Arlekar on Friday said his department has asked the captain of Ports Department to shift the offshore casino vessel as it is anchored near a bird sanctuary.
Parsekar, however, contended it, saying, “Someone whispers something and media writes about it. The formal note has to be moved to me.”
Goa has five offshore vessels and several other on shore casinos.
BJP government in its 2012 Goa assembly polls manifesto had promised to shift the offshore casinos away from Mandovi.
Several NGOs under the banner of Aam Aurat Aadmi Against Gambling recently held demonstrations against the casinos, alleging that prostitution and other crimes are on the rise in the tourist state due to casinos.