New Goa policy may shift casinos to ‘entertainment zone’

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Panaji, Feb 21 (IANS) The Goa government is drafting a policy, which may eventually lead to relocation of Goa’s casinos to an entertainment zone near an upcoming airport project, Public Works Development Sudin Dhavalikar told the Goa Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

“On casinos, we have made a policy. Where the airport (project) is…some lands have been given…for an entertainment (zone). This was done before, not now. How that will be implemented and how they (casinos) will be going there will have to be seen,” Dhavalikar said during the ongoing budget session of the assembly.

Dhavalikar, as the senior-most minister in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government, is standing in for Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is currently admitted in a Mumbai hospital due to pancreatic ailment.

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“We are making a policy. Whether they will shift their operations there or not will be decided later,” Dhavalikar added.

An international greenfield airport is coming up at Mopa plateau in North Goa, 40 km from Panaji, where an entertainment zone has been earmarked.

Goa has six offshore and nine onshore casinos operating in the state.

As an opposition party, the BJP had opposed casinos and had promised to do away with the casino industry, but successive BJP-led governments have now been accused by the opposition of proximity to the casino lobby.

–IANS

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