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Panaji, Sep 4 (IANS) Offshore casinos should not be allowed to operate in more than one river in Goa, the Congress said Wednesday, even as a leading casino promoter claimed it was considering shifting one of its three casinos.
"We do not want the evil of casinos to spread to other parts of the state. They should be in the Mandovi (a river off Panaji) or out of Goa," party spokesperson Reginaldo Lourenco told the media here.
His comments come on a day when a leading national daily quoted Goa's casino promoter Jaydev Mody as saying that his firm was on the lookout for a new site for a recently acquired casino vessel.
"At the request of the Goa government, and with a view to support it in its quest to reduce operations of casino ships in Mandovi, we have agreed to move the vessel out to another river in Goa. We will now work closely with the authorities to find a suitable location," Mody said.
Lourenco now claims that the Congress state committee would meet and formally pass a resolution on the casino relocation issue. "We are going to oppose it come what may," the Congress spokesperson said.
Four years ago, another casino which had dropped anchor in the Sal river in South Goa had to be relocated to Mandovi, off Panaji, after public protests against offshore casino operations.
On Tuesday, the National Green Tribunal has told the state government not to allow any new casinos in Mandovi, pending testing of the river water for pollutants emitted by the casino vessel.
There are presently five offshore casinos in the Mandovi river, out of which four are functional. Green groups have alleged that the large casino offshore vessels need to be shifted from the river to mid-sea.