Why are casinos bad for Goa? Try ‘Sholay’ for answer

June 21st, 2009 - 9:38 am ICT by IANS  

Amitabh Bachchan By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar
Panaji, June 21 (IANS) Bollywood blockbuster “Sholay” has inspired many,the latest being a former union minister, who drew an analogy between the ill effects of the casino industry in Goa and a popular scene from the film.

Former union minister of state for law Ramakant Khalap quoted a scene involving the characters Jai, famously played by Amitabh Bachchan) and Basanti’s aunt, enacted by Leela Mishra. In it, Jai tries unsuccessfully to pitch Veeru’s (Dharmendra) marriage proposal for Basanti (Hema Malini).

“If you remember the scene right, however much Jai tries to justify Veeru’s vices to mausi, she simply does not buy the story,” said Khalap, a Congress leader and chairman of the Goa Law Commission.

“The same is the case with casinos in Goa. No matter how much anyone tries to justify them, casinos are bad news for the state. There is no escaping the fact. Like mausi in ‘Sholay’, we should also wake up to the fact,” Khalap said as the Congress-led alliance government is aggressively pursuing a pro-casino policy.

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and Home Minister Ravi Naik have in fact Been accused by the opposition of being beneficiaries of alleged kickbacks received from casino operators for issuing of licences.

Khalap, who is also a former deputy chief minister of Goa, said casinos in the long run would corrode Goan society from within like termites.

“Outwardly, the kernel could appear intact, but casinos will eventually eat the very core of Goan society from within like white ants do,” he said.

“Casinos thrive on people who have large amounts of surplus money, which is invariably obtained through unfair means. The kind of money which fuels a parallel economy,” Khalap said, adding that gambling triggers a cascading effect of sickening proportions.

“A person who comes to gamble also looks for other avenues for pleasure.

He seeks nightlife, which is supplemented by drugs, booze and flesh trade,” Khalap said.

“When these factors come in, the providers of these pleasures scurry for state protection and you have a protection money racket flourishing and then finally politicians come into the picture,” Khalap said.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at mayabhushan@gmail.com)

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