Congress accuses BJP of ‘U-turn’ on casino, illegal mining


Panaji : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government has compromised on issues related to illegal mining as well as keeping tabs on the casino industry in the state, a Congress spokesperson said Wednesday.

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Speaking to reporters here at the opposition party’s state headquarter, Congress legislator Reginaldo Lourenco said Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had made a “U-turn” on several promises made by him before and after winning the March assembly polls.

“So many casinos, especially the onshore casinos of Goa, who did not pay the increase in the licence fee are operating without any inhibition from the law enforcement agency headed by none other but our Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar,” Lourenco said.

Parrikar had promised to crack the whip and raid casinos, both offshore and onshore, if they did not pay the licence-fee dues to the government for the current financial year.

The chief minister had promised last month that if the casinos failed to cough up the fees, which range from crore to Rs.6.5 crore, the government agencies would raid casinos and arrest the gamblers there.

“The deadline for the payment of the licence fee, which was earlier fixed at Aug 14 was extended to Aug 17. Today is the fourth day after the deadline has lapsed but the state home department is totally powerless on taking any action,” Lourenco said.

Accusing the Parrikar government of going soft on the illegal mining industry in Goa, the Congress legislator said: “Parrikar had so much to say about the illegal mining industry when we were in power. Look at him now. He is silent. Illegal mining is going on unabated.”