Considering demand for moving offshore casinos out of Mandovi River

In a statement that could have far-reaching consequences, newly-appointed Ports Minister Michael Lobo said he is not averse to the idea of shifting the offshore casinos to Aguada Bay and the casino boarding points to the Verem bank of the River Mandovi. Replying to the cut motions to the demands on Ports, Lobo said he would take Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant, Leader of the Opposition Digambar Kamat and Panjim MLA Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate into confidence. “The idea of shifting the casino vessel has been mooted by the Panjim MLA and I assure to study the matter and will also take him for a joint survey of the place,” he said. Lobo said while he is not averse to the idea of shifting casinos, the sole intention is that casino passengers should not be affected. Monserrate, who appeared agitated and unsatisfied, said that at any cost the casino jetties from Panjim need to be moved out and the Corporation of City of Panaji will not renew their trade licences once they expire. On shifting of the boarding points, Lobo said there is enough place in Verem but he will need to take the Saligao MLA into confidence. Further, the minister assured the House that the new terminal building of the Captain of Ports will not house casino offices. “The Rs 25.30 cr building will be purely for administrative purpose and I am ready to make a presentation to the opposition MLAs,” he said.

Sonsoddo will be cleared

Lobo, who is also the Waste Management Minster, said he will take the Opposition MLAs into confidence before reaching a decision on the Sonsoddo dump side. “The government wants a permanent solution on Sonsodo and we are ready to take all into confidence,” he said. Lobo stated that improvised technology, better than Saligao plant, could be replicated in Sonsoddo. “I invite the Opposition leaders for a tour to Singapore and other South East Asian countries to see their technology. Also, the Opposition MLAs must come to Saligao and see the cleanliness maintained and the method used for treatment. Simply going and making speeches would not help,” he said. The government is serious, he said adding that the process for Cacora plant is complete as the funding has also been sorted out. “Only some issues have to be cleared by GSIDC,” he stated. Lobo also mooted a fine for every individual for littering be it highways or the other places. “For construction debris the fine should be from Rs 500 to Rs 5000,” he said.

RDA needs budget hike

The Rural Development Minister Lobo said no minister has done justice to RDA and it was always neglected. “Only Churchill Alemao and Digamabar Kamat did some justice by hiking its budgetary allocations,” he said. “I am ready to go to the rural areas, only we need increased budgetary provision and hence need CM’s support,” he said. He also said there was urgent need for recruitment of 45 employees.