SHOAIB SHAIKH | NT
A private company has expressed its willingness to the state government to host the offshore casinos and facilitate the mooring of the casino vessels on River Zuari even as speculations of shifting them on Chapora river at Siolim have been ruled out.
Sources in the government told this daily that a proposal by a private company is in the nascent stage. The company has offered to host the offshore casinos and facilitate the operations of the casinos in an area owned by the company. The private company has proposed to shift the offshore casinos on River Zuari and facilitate the operations on the banks of the river.
The source further said that the preliminary investigation has been carried out and a decision would be taken after studying the feasibility of shifting the casinos. The technical investigations have been carried out by the resource persons of Captain of Ports, the source added.
Meanwhile, speculations that the offshore casinos would be shifted to Siolim and the vessels would be moored on the Chapora river have been ruled out. The source said that River Chapora would require extensive dredging, which would cost the government around Rs 30 crore.
As the water resources department has been constructing a jetty-like concrete structure at Siolim, speculations were rife that the jetty was being constructed to provide a backdoor entry to the casinos on the Chapora river. However, sources said that though the river has a wide navigational channel, it is not possible to shift the casinos there as the infrastructural facilities would cost the state exchequer around Rs 50 crore.
While dredging alone is estimated to cost around Rs 30 crore, the other infrastructural facilities for the operations on the river bank such as the operating office, kiosks for sales and necessities including water and garbage disposal would cost the government around Rs 20 crore. In addition, another hurdle that would not allow the shifting is the height of the bridge over the river. The casino vessels will not be able to navigate from below the bridge that connects Siolim with Chopdem due to its low height.