With the Casino trade dubiously escalating, there needs to be a State wide vigorous agitation against this social menace. Goa is the only State that has callously permitted both land casinos as well as offshore ones. And with political blessings they are operating unmonitored and unregulated with even the required Gaming Commissioner not in place. And that so called Casino policy may never see the light of the day.
While as Leader of the Opposition Manohar Parrikar had vociferously branded Casinos as a “social evil” and had called them “dens of vice”. While spearheading that agitation against Casinos, Manohar Parrikar had vowed to make sure that all Casinos were thrown out of Goa if the BJP came to power. But in a dramatic U turn in March 2012 the BJP once in Power went all out to promote, shield and bolster the Casinos.
Manohar Parrikar as the Chief Minister while branding the revenue from Casinos as “bad” money, had declared in the Goa Legislative Assembly that the revenue from Casinos would be kept in a separate account and utilized only on homes for the aged and those suffering from Alzheimer’s. On that revenue earned by the government from Casinos, Manohar Parrikar had firmly stated “We don’t want to use that money to buy computers for students. We don’t need that money in the budget”. Addressing the Goa Legislative Assembly on 7th August 2012, Manohar Parrikar had also categorically and confidently stated that he did not require the revenue from Casinos for Goa’s developmental works.
On 10th October 2013, Manohar Parrikar had assured the Goa Legislative Assembly that all the Casinos would be out of the River Mandovi by September 2015.
Ironically the RSS which sets and gears the agenda for the BJP is known to be against gambling but their silence on Casinos is deafening. The Congress may have initiated the Casinos in the State, but the BJP has clearly fallen in passionate love with the Casino brigade which is now showered with the government’s abundant patronage and overwhelming support in all the illegalities.
For the dismal number of jobs created for Goans by Casinos, the overall damage that is being inflicted to the State is irreversible. While the current Ministers are feasting and making merry with the abundant moolah flowing from the Casinos, Goa has sadly become the country’s gambling hub with the allied vices of Prostitution and the Narcotics trade also flourishing by the day while the Crime rate is on a steep rise. Even Vijai Sardesai and Rohan Khaunte who were earlier very vocal and vociferous against the Casinos, hopped on the bandwagon after being inducted as Ministers in March 2017.
The BJP led Government of Goa cannot and must not be allowed to make endless U-turns on a social evil that they themselves in opposition and even in Government vowed to put an end to. The people of Goa must not be taken for a ride on this issue as it is clear that the corrupt Government is swayed by the roll of the moolah rather than what is good for the people of Goa. So, for Goa to remain afloat the Casinos must sink. The faster it happens the better for Goa and Goans.