Casino proposal on Goa border: Karnataka activists oppose the move

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Uttara Kannada district in-charge minister Shivaram Hebbar‘s recent proposal to open casinos on the Goa border received the ire of activists, political leaders, and the public. The minister said that casinos would promote tourism in the district that borders Goa. Hebbar was speaking on the occasion of Karnataka Rajyotsava (November 1) when he made this suggestion.

People go to casinos in Goa. Crowds from nooks and corners of the country throng these places. Thousands of people from Karnataka too go there. If we attract just the crowd from the state, we will generate revenues,” he said in the meeting attended by top district bureaucrats and legislators.

With an airport coming up near Karwar, the coastal areas of Uttara Kannada can attract a large number of tourists from different countries. So, setting up casinos in the sea is important, Hebbar said. It can be done with the participation of private parties. Hotel, water adventures, forest and water tourism can be increased, he said.

He should not have spoken about opening casinos. It will anger many people, for whom casino is taboo. There are ways and means to develop tourism even without a casino,” Maruthi, an activist was quoted by the New Indian Express.

“Developing tourism on the lines of Goa is welcome, but casino is not in our culture. We oppose this,” said, Ram Naik, former Karwar taluk president, Kannada Sahitya Parishat.

Promoting tourism is fine. Create adequate amenities and required infrastructure at beaches, then people will come in large numbers. Later, think whether casinos are feasible or not. Stop appeasing a particular class of people. Focus on improving the lives of farmers and poor children by providing agriculture benefits and improving spate of anganwadis,” Gopalkrishna Naik, secretary, KPCC, was quoted in media reports. Incidentally, the proposal was first put forward during the last Congress government headed by Siddharamiah which the then opposition party BJP opposed.