Goa government gets notices over sealing of casino vessels

March 28th, 2009 - 11:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Panaji, March 28 (IANS) The chief electoral officer in Goa has issued notices to the government over the controversial and much publicised sealing and de-sealing of offshore casino vessels in the coastal state.
The notices by CEO Ajit Srivastva have been dispatched to the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) and the North Goa district administration, asking them to respond promptly.

There was a political furore last week after both the ruling Congress-led coalition government as well as the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed credit for the action taken against the offshore casinos, which have been the major flogging horse in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.

“We have issued notices to them, we will take a call on the issue when they reply to our query,” Ajit Srivastava told reporters Saturday.

Three offshore casinos - namely Rio, Caravela and Maharaja - were sealed by the North Goa district magistrate following recommendations from the GSPCB for alleged violation of pollution norms March 24.

However, the vessels were de-sealed only a few hours later, with the government claiming there was a “communication gap” between the GSPCB and the district administration.

Srivastava said his office was also studying a complaint of the BJP against Congress spokesperson Vishnu Wagh, and media consultant to the state-run Department of Information and Publicity, who in a press conference last week made a public imploration on the necessity for offshore casinos in the state.

The BJP in a complaint had held that the Congressman had violated the code of conduct.

While the government has already issued seven casino licences, there are at present six offshore casinos anchored in the Mandovi river, off Panaji.

Goa goes to polls April 23 to elect its two Lok Sabha members. The state has nearly one million voters spread over 1,338 polling stations.

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