No adverse impact on the environment by offshore Goa Casinos: Jal Shakti Ministry

Published on:

In response to a question by Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Derek O’Brien, Union Minister of State (MoS) for Jal Shakti Bishweswar Tudu on Monday informed the upper house that the six off-shore casinos in River Mandovi are not causing any pollution in the river.

The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) had appointed TUV SUD South Asia Pvt Ltd for undertaking a water audit of six floating casino vessels operating in river Mandovi at Panjim to identify and evaluate potential environmental impacts, especially due to disposal of sewage with the operation of these casinos.

The audit by TUD was carried out on behalf of GSPCB in 2020 on the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The report highlighted that while the gaming section of all the casinos was clean and neatly maintained in regards to the dry and wet waste receptacle placement and storage, the marine section was found to be very poor in storage and handling of hazardous waste including its inventory.

The water audit indicated that there are no adverse environmental impacts of the operation of these vessels. Also, the little impact would be readily addressed through mitigation measures outlined in the Environmental and Social Management Plan,” said Tudu.

In July 2021, Nilesh Cabral, Minister for Environment. Goa informed the state assembly that hazardous and other waste generated by the casinos is disposed of through registered agencies as per the Hazardous and Other Waste (Hazardous and Transboundary Movement) Rules and the manifest copies of the same are submitted to GSPCB.

Tudu on Monday said that through the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National River Conservation Plan (NRCP), the central government has been supplementing efforts of the states/UTs by providing financial and technical assistance in abatement of pollution in identified stretches of rivers, excluding river Ganga and its tributaries, on a cost-sharing basis.

To address the pollution concerns of river Mandovi, one project for sewage treatment of 12.5 million litres per day (MLD) at Panaji has been implemented under NRCP at a cost of Rs.14.09 crore. In case of pollution in river Mandovi due to the operation of offshore casinos, the minister said that the wastewater discharge line is sealed by GSPCB and Captain of Ports after transfer of wastewater from casino vessels to the sewage barge. Casinos are also monitored every four months by the Committee constituted by National Green Tribunal.