Fri, 28 Feb, 2020

Chowgules offer to relocate casinos

Proposal sent to govt, says enough space to accommodate 10-12 offshore gambling vessels off Chicalim

Story: THE | GOAN | 10th July 2016, 12:00 Hrs

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PROPOSED LOCATION: STUDIED & RESEARCHED!

* About three km north of Dabolim international airport

* Nearly six km away from Mormugao harbour

* 300-metre long water front along the banks of River Zuari

* Barge traffic channel approximately 1,000 metres away

* Traffic and other related problems ruled out

* The site is far away from MPT’s operational area

* No mention in port act to restrict casinos from MPT jurisdiction

* No disturbance from villagers as road blocked at the end from site

* Private parking available in property which has internal roads

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In a twist to the on-going offshore casino controversy, the Chowgule group has not only offered to relocate them in the Zuari river near Chicalim, but also assured that the new location could be converted into an offshore casino zone to accommodate at least 10-12 boats.

“The site that I have proposed in my aforesaid letter has been researched, confirmed and then pinpointed as the best location in Goa by Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) for their 150 boats fishing harbour project in the year 1995. This research still stands good. Therefore, this model studied site can safely be extended to harbour a condominium of 10-12 off-shore casinos as a ‘special off-shore casino zone,” reads the proposal sent from Chowgule House, Vasco and signed by Gayatriraje Chowgule.

This property, which is about three km north of Dabolim international airport and nearly six km away from Mormugao harbour has a 300-metre long water front along the banks of River Zuari, with the barge traffic channel being approximately 1,000 metres away from the said property.

Being three km away from the airport, the traffic and other related problems which are allegedly created by off-shore casinos have been ruled out in the proposal.

“The site is far away from MPT’s operational area and there is no mention in the Major Port Trusts Act 1963 to restrict off-shore casinos from MPT’s jurisdiction,” the proposal sent to the government on February 9 stated.

This property bearing survey nos 148/1, 148/2 and 148/3 admeasuring 35,000 square metres belongs to Daulat Chowgule. The site has two accesses – from Chicalim headland interconnecting the Vasco-da-Gama entry and second is from below the Chicalim church through the village.

“As the village road is blocked at the end at a distance of 400 metres from the location, there is no disturbance from the villagers. Additionally, there is private parking available in this property which has internal roads,” the proposal stated.

Officials of the home department along with officials of Captain of Ports inspected the site to check the feasibility.

Though the government is yet to decide on the proposal, it is for the first time that a private party has shown willingness to play a host to the casinos ‘for better prospects and further expansion of the casino industry in the State’.

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State govt uses backdoor to give

casino flotel entry into Mandovi

Two cabinet decisions, seven months apart, reveal how the BJP government used the backdoor to bring Casino flotel back into the river Mandovi.

A perusal of the cabinet decision taken on August 24, 2015 reveals that besides extending the casino licences of all the casinos, the government approved the proposal for renewal of licence to vessel M V Royale Flotel “with a condition that it shall not be valid for operation in the river Mandovi.”

The cabinet decision was taken at a time when the casino was not in operation and was berthed at Rassaim in the River Mandovi.

However, subsequently in a cabinet meeting held on March 31, this year when the cabinet further extended the licences of the casinos for a period of one year, it also granted permission for the M V Royale Flotel to operate in the River Mandovi for a period of one year.

MV Royale Flotel is operating on the renewed licence belonging to MV Caravela which had lapsed and expired on December 1, 2014 and was not renewed until the cabinet decision of August 24, 2015.

Subsequently in March 2016, the government increased the validity of the casino licences for a period of one year up to the year 2017.

MV Royale Flotel, while currently berthed in the River Mandovi off Ribandar, is yet to begin operations even locals have demanded that it be shifted out.

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