Move to allow casinos near new Goa airport opposed
After Panaji, the BJP-led coalition government was trying to develop a gambling den near the upcoming international airport at Mopa in North Goa, alleged former state RSS chief Subhash Velingkar, here on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference, the head of the Goa Suraksha Manch, a regional political outfit, said coupling the casino industry to the tourism policy was equivalent to the state government backing Goa's image as a 'gambling den'.
"After destroying Panaji with the casino culture, the government's attempt to start a gambling arena at the Mopa plateau would be disastrous for villages in the vicinity of the airport," Velingkar said.
Goa five-star hotels are home to nearly a dozen onshore casinos, apart from six offshore casinos in the Mandovi river off Panaji.
Over the last few weeks, several ministers and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant himself have hinted at creating an entertainment hub at the upcoming airport, located 35 km north of Panaji.
Velingkar's party as well as the Congress have opposed the move, urging the state government to ban casinos.
Velingkar said Sawant's recent statement backing references to casinos in a state tourism promotion film had given a moral sanction to the industry. "This virtually means the state government is endorsing that Goa is a gambling den," Velingkar said.IANS