New airport may be home to Goa's offshore casinos: Minister
Goa Ports Minister Michael Lobo on Wednesday dropped broad hints that the offshore casinos parked in the Mandovi river off Panaji would be relocated near the upcoming Mopa International Airport in North Goa.
Lobo also said that it was not possible to shut down the industry in view of the investments made by the promoters of the casino industry.
"Once the Mopa airport work starts, we will give the casinos a time period of four years, five years or six years to get land there and shift on ground," Lobo told reporters at the State Secretariat on Wednesday.
Lobo also said that the state government was working on a policy to regulate the casino industry and the document would be finalised only after it is clear when the Mopa airport would become functional.
"Once we know when the Mopa airport will be functional and when flights will start operating from there, the casino policy will be released and the casinos can start relocating there," Lobo said.
Lobo said that in all likelihood, the Goa casino policy would be in public domain within six months.
Goa currently has five offshore casinos parked in the Mandovi river off Panaji, which have been a subject of controversy, opposed by the Opposition as well as civil society activists.
Developed jointly by the Goa government and GMR, the greenfield airport located in North Goa district is expected to handle 30 million passenger traffic when it is fully operational.
The first phase of the airport is expected to be completed in 2020.IANS