The casino industry of India has been under threat for quite some time as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is an extremely conservative party and borrows many of its ideals from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) party. They have made it clear that they consider the gambling industry to be an evil to society and have pushed for a blanket bank on gambling in Goa.
However, once elected, Goa prime minister Laxmikant Parsekar who belongs to the BJP softened his stance on the casino industry as it generates significant amount of revenue for the state. He said his government would not provide new licenses but would not ask existing casinos to wind up their operations.
Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar had recently granted permission for these offshore-casinos to move from the Mandovi River to the Aguada Bay which overlooks the Miramar beach. These decisions have upset the BJP’s biggest opposition party which is the Indian National Congress.
The Indian National Congress is definitely not as conservative as the BJP but have taken a completely different stand on the casino industry in a clear move to oppose the BJP. The Congress does not want any off-shore casino to operate in Goa’s rivers and state that they must be anchored at sea.
In a statement, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Luizinho Faleiro said “Initially when the off-shore casinos came to Goa, they were meant to be away from the city, means to be off-shore, in sea and not in rivers. The casinos have no right to be operated in the river. Rivers cannot be used for business. When government speaks of shifting the casinos to Aguada bay that means shifting from one point of river to another point. BJP had promised to shift them out of River Mandovi”.
The Congress are also using the report released by the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) as a platform for making their case. The recent report highlighted the increase in river pollution and the Congress wants the current Goa government to respect and preserve the city’s rivers.
Committee President Faleiro also went on record to state that even though he is currently campaigning to move these offshore casinos from the river to the sea, what he would really like is to have a blanket ban issued on all casinos in Goa and put an end to the industry. Faleiro stated that while it is true the casino industry generates revenue for the state, it causes a lot of damage to Indian society and especially Indian youth. Faleiro stated that these casinos encouraged gambling and caused many to be enslaved by a gambling addiction, thereby causing hell to families and eventually the state.
He called on the current government to take a strong stand and put an end to the casino industry and promised the BJP government that should they decide to ban the casino industry in Goa, the Congress would support them 100% on this move.