Panaji, Sep 4: The Pune bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Goa government not to allow any more new offshore casinos functioning in large boats in the Mandovi river off Panaji, citing pollution issues.
“Goa government and state departments are directed not to grant any permission for any new establishment of offshore casinos,” the NGT said in its interim order Tuesday, after hearing a petition from Sudip Tamhankar, a Congress spokesperson.
“Considering the issues raised, which are of a grave nature, we are of the view that balance of convenience in granting an interim order is in favour of the public at large,” said the order by Justice P. Jyothimani.
The interim order also asked the Goa State Pollution Control Board to inspect offshore casinos and restrain the casino management from dumping garbage and “hazardous waste” that pollute the river.
The next hearing in the case will be held Sep 30, by which time the state government has been asked to file a status report on pollution caused by casino vessels in the river and efforts taken to contain the damage.
There are at present five offshore casinos in the Mandovi river, out of which four are functional. Green groups have alleged the large casino offshore vessels need to be shifted from the river to mid-sea.