Ex-Goa RSS chief slams CM for backing casinos

Panaji, Jun 12 (IANS): The former chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) Goa chapter, Subhash Velingkar, on Wednesday criticised Chief Minister Pramod Sawant's statement backing the casino industry in the state, while also demanding a white paper on the ill-effects of the industry on the coastal state.

"It is a shame that the BJP-led coalition government in Goa is openly backing the casino industry. Since when have casinos become a part of the official tourism policy of the state," Velingkar asked while speaking to reporters here.

Velingkar's comments came a day after Sawant said that casinos were essential for promoting tourism in Goa and that a significant number of tourists visited the state because of the six offshore and nearly a dozen onshore casinos operating in Goa.

For nearly a decade when it was in the opposition, the BJP had opposed the casino industry, accusing it of promoting social ills. It had also promised to do away with the industry if it came to power.

Velingkar, who now heads the regional political party Goa Suraksha Manch, also said that a white paper should be presented to prove whether the casino industry was contributing to Goa in a positive manner.

"The government should come out with a white paper and share information about how much income the state earns from the casinos and how many Goans are employed in the casinos. What will be the long-term effect of the casinos on environment, Goan heritage and Goan identity..." Velingkar said.


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