Local Goa News

Sunday, July 10, 2016

‘Special offshore casino zone’ could be in sight

PANAJI : As the government remains in a fix about relocating the offshore casinos from the Mandovi, a member of the Chowgule family has proposed a long stretch  of  land along Zuari river   near Chicalim,   and owned by them, as a ‘prospective site’ to establish a condominium of ‘special offshore casino zone’.

The site along the Zuari riverbank has been inspected by the home department, carrying out preliminary technical studies.
Speaking exclusively to ‘The Navhind Times’, Gayatriraje Chowgule, who had briefed Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar about the   proposal on February 9, this year, said the proposal is exclusively for facilitating the government in relocating the offshore casinos, and that there is no direct deal with the casino owners.
“We are not hosting the casinos as it has been perceived, but we are only facilitating the government and have only proposed a site. It is for the government to take a decision if it is feasible to do so,” she said.
Responding to the opposition the casinos have been facing in the state, she said, “I know I have walked into the lion’s mouth, but it is for the government to curb the ‘bad side’. My proposal is only keeping in mind that the government has been in search of a site to relocate the casino vessels and this site would not be proposed by the government.”
The government will have to ensure that all regulations are put in place and if it plans to relocate the casino vessels then the relocation  should not be harmful to anybody, she added.
Chowgule said that everything should be done according to the environment taking all the stakeholders into confidence, including the villagers, the fishing community and the local authorities.
Stating that the proposed site is the most viable solution, she said the site is located away from human settlement. Explaining further she said that since the waters adjacent to the proposed area are under the jurisdiction of the Mormugao Port Trust, the Captain of Ports would not be in a position to suggest such a site.
Referring to studies conducted by the coastal and engineering division of the Central Water and Power Research Station  from Pune, Chowgule said the site would  cause least damages.
Hydraulic model studies and experiments on wave tranquility, siltation, tides, currents and estuarine freshwater discharge during monsoon have all been carried out.
The studies were carried out by CWPRS in 1995 when the MPT was considering building a fisheries harbour in front of the property.
Chowgule has also proposed a tourism project to put the port town on the map of water sports activities in the state. A 260-metre long and 10-metre wide piled jetty has been proposed to facilitate berthing for super yachts, water sports vessels and houseboats.
The land, admeasuring 35, 000 sq.mt,  is owned by Daulat Chowgule and has 300-metre-long waterfront along the riverbank. Until the mining closure, the riverfront was utilised for ship repairs with a graving dock.
Officials of the home department along with MPT and CoP personnel inspected the site on May 14, this year.
Sources in the government informed that the results of the initial inspections have been positive and policy decision would be needed as the waters are under the jurisdiction of the MPT.

NT Network Goa News

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