Local Goa News

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Arlekar returns: Forest minister hell bent on shifting casino vessel from Chorao

Says inspections by his dept have found the vessel to be around 220 mts from bird sanctuary; Asserts it will have an adverse effect on avian life

PANJIM: Rubbishing claims of the Captain of Ports (CoP) that the casino vessel is anchored 400 meters away from the Dr Salim Ali Bird sanctuary, Environment and Forest Minister Rajendral Arlekar on Thursday said the department is determined to shift the vessel as it is having an environmental impact on avian life there.
“The department officials have conducted inspection of the vessel five times till date. Every time we have found that the vessel is between 200-220 metres from the sanctuary,” Arlekar said, adding that if it was anchored 400 metres it would have touched the other side of the bank as the entire basin in that area is around 500 metres.
The Minister on Thursday evening met with Forest Department officials on the issue, wherein directions have been given to approach the Home Department and COP to shift the vessels at the earliest.
“The vessel will have adverse impact on avian life in the sanctuary. That is why we have asked that the vessel be shifted. As minister of forests it is my responsibility to protect wildlife. I have nothing against the casino,” Arlekar clarified.
The offshore casino vessel Deltin Caravela is anchored next to the Sanctuary in River Mandovi near Chorao island, triggering protests by the locals. The Forest Department too had asked the Captain of Ports to ask the casino owners to move the vessel.
CoP had claimed that the vessel is located 400 meters from the sanctuary and that it has not received any directives from Forest Department to shift it. Despite the Minister’s order, the Ports Administration failed to submit details of the vessels even after two weeks.
Recently, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had said that he had not received any file from Forest Department seeking to move the casino vessel.
Reacting to that, Arlekar said communication on the issue is between officers of the Forest Department and Captain of Ports. “The file will not go to the Chief Minister. It is being dealt with at the officers’ level,” he added.
July 7: Public meeting at Ribandar gives government 15 days to remove casino vessel ‘Deltin Caravela’ from where it is anchored near the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
July 8: Forests and Environment Minister Rajendra Arlekar directs Forest Department to ask Home Department and Captain of Ports (CoP) to immediately shift the casino vessel. Forest Department had claimed to have moved a note to CoP
CM Laxmikant Parsekar says government cannot “abruptly” direct closure or removal of offshore casino vessels from River Mandovi as casino operators could drag government to court
July 11: Captain of Ports (CoP) says not directives received to shift casino. Denies that vessel is anchored in buffer zone of Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

Herald Goa News

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