PIL filed against offshore casinos in Goa

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the operation of offshore casinos in River Mandovi has been filed at the High Court of Bombay, local media reports.

The PIL, filed by social activist Kashinath Shetye contends that none of the offshore casinos in River Mandovi have CRZ permission, which is required for their operation.

The casinos should also be anchored 12 nautical miles from the shore, according to the licenses issued to the casino operators.

According to The Herald Goa, the court has served notices to 17 parties, including three casino operators, the Chief Secretary, Under Secretary Home, Captain of Ports, Director of Fisheries, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Marine Police, Department of Tourism, GCZMA, GSPCB, Collector and Deputy Collector.

The next hearing has been scheduled for October 4, 2016.

In related news, senior opposition leader Digvijay Singh has recently announced that Congress will allow the people to decide its stand on casinos in Goa.

“We don’t want Goa to be another Macau, which is known only for casinos. We don’t want Goa to be known only for casinos and gambling,” said Digvijay on Monday.

“We have decided to consult the people on what should be the Congress stand on casinos. Comprehensive views of the public would be taken,” Singh said in presence of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) President Luizinho Faleiro.

Faleiro has been known to be opposed to casinos in the region, saying they have turned the State into the “sin city of India.”

“I am personally against casinos but what the party’s stand should be, will be decided after consulting the people,” he said.

“I have already begun consultations with NGOs and others on the issue,” he said, keeping silent on the party’s earlier demand of an “opinion poll” on the matter.

The former chief minister also added the state executive committee had taken a decision wherein it found the “casinos are an evil and have evil effect on the society”.