The village of Reis Magos in the Indian state of Goa adopted a resolution this Sunday that opposes the relocation of floating casinos in closer proximity to the Verem village that sits on the Mandovi River. The resolution passed during a special gram sabha, which is a forum where locals gather to discuss important governance and development topics.
The gram sabha was attended by a large number of villagers who came together for the discussions of various casino-related issues. The interest was so immense that the gram sabha had to be relocated to accommodate all the locals.
The villagers arrived at the decision that the Reis Magos local council, known as a panchayat, must cancel the temporary license for a proposed floating casino jetty located near Quegdevelim.
The panchayat council is typically chaired by the village president, or the Sarpanch as locals call him. The meeting was attended by Jayesh Salgaonkar, Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Saligao and Sarpanch Virendra Shirodkar.
The Relocation Could Damage Local Infrastructure
The Sarpanch and the MLA met with local fishermen who complained that the casino relocation would negatively affect their business. According to the fishermen, they are already unable to carry out their activities within a radius of 200 meters from the place where the floating casinos were anchored.
The relocation can result in major traffic jams because of the narrow village roads. The shift can also have a pronounced negative effect on the aquatic life in the Mandovi River, according to MLA Salgaonkar.
Premanand Mandrejar, secretary of the Reis Magos panchayat was also present during the discussions. He explained to the locals that the Captain of Ports has not yet sent an official letter to the village’s panchayat concerning the relocation. However, it appears some villagers have brought to the secretary’s notice a letter concerning the matter.
The villagers then questioned the issuance of a license granted for a temporary casino jetty near Quegdevelim. One of the residents demanded to know how the local council had even issued the license back in 2008 in the first place.
MLA Salgaonkar Backs the Locals’ Demands
The locals now insist that the panchayat should first start with the revocation of said license. The villagers also took some time to address the problems of the local fishermen. They stressed that if the casino relocation to the Verem side of the river indeed takes place, the fishermen should be provided with other jobs as a new source of livelihood.
MLA Salgaonkar spoke against the shifting of the casino vessels at the gram sabha. He explained that he will prevent the shift of the casinos to the Verem side just as he prevented the mooring work for the vessels with the help of local villagers several days ago. In his opinion, the shift will be extremely damaging to the Verem community and should be scratched off altogether.
The MLA promised an inspection on site would take place, followed by the dispatch of letters to all concerned departments. He explained that the Reis Magos panchayat is responsible for the oversight of one half of the Naddovi River while the other half falls under the jurisdiction of the Panaji municipality.
Not everyone opposes floating casino vessels, however. As Casino Games Pro reported in October, Minister Michael Lobo requested the renewal of the operating licenses for offshore casinos by the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP).
Mr. Lobo claimed that said casinos rank among the biggest tourist attractions in Goa. His request was turned down by the Panaji mayor who confirmed the licenses will not be renewed after they expire next March.