Statement on casinos: GSM seeks public apology from CM

Panaji: Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM), on Sunday, issued a
ten-day ultimatum to the government and the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to
tender a public apology for making a statement on casinos that they ‘are a part
of the tourism industry in Goa.’

While condemning the Chief Minister for making the
statement on casinos, the GSM demanded a public apology from him within ten
days or else the party will intensify agitation against the casinos. Addressing
the media on Sunday, GSM leader Subhash Velingkar said, “The manch will
intensify the stir against the casinos,” and urged the like-minded people and
NGOs to join them in their fight against casinos in the state.

“GSM will write to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi
highlighting the prevailing situation in the state about the casinos,” Swati
Kerker, GSM leader, said and added that “by making a cheap statement, the Chief
Minister has damaged the image of Goa and Goans, and as such GSM is demanding
an apology from him as all Goans are very sensitive and the issue is of very
serious nature.”

“A visitor to the city is greeted by casino hoardings
everywhere; even police barricades tell you about casinos beside River Mandovi
and as a result Panaji has become the alleged capital city of gambling in Goa,”
she said

“The BJP came to power by raising the issue of the
casinos’ presence in the River Mandovi but now the number of casinos has gone
up from one to 8. And, now the Chief Minister is saying casinos are a part and
parcel of the tourism industry in Goa,” she added.

“The Chief Minister also went on to say that the casinos
are the backbone of tourism industry,” said Atmaram Gaonkar, GSM chief and
added that the government has some hidden agenda on casinos and so protecting
them despite of the damage being caused to culture and image of Goa.

“We will never allow the casinos to be moved to Pernem
near Mopa airport where government has usurped nearly one crore square metres
of land from the farmers by paying a pittance and will never allow the
government to thrive on money generated from liquor, casinos and prostitution,”
Velingkar said.

Kerker said that in the initial stage, the casinos were
issued licences for only 6 months but now it appears that they are here
permanently with indefinite extensions.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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