Panjim: While the off shore casino issue is a major poll plank for the political parties in the race for the Panjim by-poll, Goa Forward Party (GFP), the alliance partners in the BJP-led coalition government, on Tuesday said that the casino industry should be shut if it is of no benefit to Goans.
GFP general secretary Mohandas Lolienkar initially said that a complete shut-down of casino can lead to unemployment for those Goans, who are employed on casinos. “We are fighting for the rights of Goan youths and we cannot be a reason for stealing their income,” he said.
However, when pointed out that not many Goans are employed on casinos, Lolienkar said “if that is the case, then they (casino) should be shut-down”.
“If casinos are of no benefit to Goans then they should be shut down,” he reiterated.
While BJP has failed to make any promise on off shore casinos, anchored in River Mandovi, Congress, Goa Suraksha Manch and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has assured to shift them from the river, if elected.
GFP general secretary-organisation Prashant Naik said the government needs to come out with a clear policy on casinos, which would give clarity on the government’s position on if they want the casinos remain in River Mandovi or if they want to shift them permanently to an alternate site permanently or if they don’t want casinos at all.
Naik said that any decision on casinos would have to be made only after taking all the coalition partners into confidence. “There has to be consensus decision on casinos,” he said.
The GFP leader however maintained that casinos are one amongst those certain things, which is invertible as far as tourism is concerned. [H]