Maintaining that one casino was already stationed on the Nerul side, Ports Minister Michael Lobo said he will ensure that seventh casino will never come on river Mandovi. “There are six casinos on river Mandovi. Only six will remain, seventh will never come. As long as I am the ports minister I will not give permission to the seventh casino,” said Lobo. The Ports Minister has been facing stiff resistance on his plans to shift three casinos on the Nerul side of the river Mandovi from his former colleague and Saligao MLA. Lobo said that offshore casinos made their way into Goa when Jayesh Salgoankar was Goa Pradesh Congress Committee member. “Then he (Jayesh) never opposed entry to these. Congress government brought casinos in Goa. And now the same party says they do not want it. They are just saying it because as principal opposition party they have to oppose it,” he said. Trying to clear his stance on the casino, Lobo said that he was not for casinos per se but since Goa was a tourist State and certain tourists come to Goa because of casinos the government could not stop it. “I am not giving thumbs up to casinos. I am not protecting them. But since they are already there we cannot stop them. They are giving employment to people of Goa. The economy to a certain extent depends on the casinos because certain tourists come for casinos,” he said.
The Ports Minister said that former minister Jayesh Salgaonkar was a “nice boy” but wet behind the ears. “He should learn how to be a member of the legislative assembly. He should know what is good for the people of his constituency instead of opposing everything,” Lobo said. He said Nerul already has a land casino and if people thought it was not good they would have not allowed the land casino there. The minister also said that no individual can stake claim on rivers and sea. “I cannot say the sea which is in front of Candolim or Calangute beach belongs to us. It is not ours. It does not belong to the constituency,” Lobo said.