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Parrikar blames Congress for casinos in Goa

Criticised for the BJP’s inability to live up to its promise of pulling the curtains down on the offshore casinos parked in the Mandovi river, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday blamed the Congress for granting them licences.

“You check the dates, the licences are given in 2007, whose government was there? Fact is a fact. That cannot be altered. In fact, we reduced the number,” Parrikar told the media here.

When asked why the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had promised in 2012 to do away with offshore casinos, has not done it yet, Parrikar said: “The government decided to move them from Mandovi. But the solution to where to place them was not found.”

“Once this solution arrives, we will be able to move them from Mandovi,” Parrikar said.

He added the BJP government would not increase the number of casinos any further.

Goa has five offshore casinos parked in the Mandovi River off Panaji and ten onshore casinos operating from the five-star resorts located in the coastal fringes of the state.

While the Aam Aadmi Party in its election manifesto for the February 4 state assembly polls has promised to put a blanket ban on onshore and offshore casinos operating in the state, the Congress has promised to ban only offshore casinos.

Asked to comment on a statement of Maharashtrwadi Gomantak Party leader Sudin Dhavalikar last week that doing away with casinos was impossible for Goa’s political parties, Parrikar said: “My manifesto does not have anything on casinos. It is an administrative decision taken by the last government to remove the casinos from Mandovi by finding an appropriate place for locating them, so that they don’t become an eyesore.”

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