Panaji: The Congress on Thursday questioned Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s resolve to rein in offshore casinos from dumping sewage into the Mandovi river off Panaji, in which the vessels are parked. Addressing a press conference in Panaji, state Congress President Girish Chodankar also said, that casino industry was under-reporting the number of patrons who visit the gambling facilities, which annually causes a loss of Rs 5,000 crore to the state exchequer. Also Read – Over 62.71 lakh pilgrims have visited Vaishno Devi this year “The Chief Minister can warn a biker to not pollute a river with ‘nirmalya’ (flowers offered to God), but has no stern words for the offshore casinos who are dumping sewage into the Mandovi river,” Chodankar said. “He can tell the poor not to pollute, but does not have the guts to tell the powerful casino lobby. He probably knew that randomly cautioning an ordinary person from dumping flowers could give him publicity.” The state Congress president was referring to Sawant’s Twitter post on Wednesday, in which he had uploaded a video of him stopping his convoy to caution a person dumping ‘nirmalya’ into a river. The post had gone viral on social media. Also Read – Man gets life term for raping minor daughter-in-law Chodankar also criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state for taking a U-turn on the casino issue. “The BJP was opposing casinos initially, late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar even threatened to finish off the industry. But now they are defending it, calling it integral to tourism,” Chodankar said. “Casinos have complete control over Goa. Every MLA has been given an ATM. Chief Minister is managed by casinos.” The state Congress President also alleged that the casino industry was depriving the state exchequer of Rs 5,000 crore annually by under-reporting its footfalls. “They are only showing 10 per cent entry of patrons. 90 per cent activity on casino is illegal. Most of the transactions including buying of gambling chips is in cash and not accounted for. There is a revenue loss of Rs. 5,000 revenue loss every year,” Chodankar said. There are six operational offshore casinos and nearly a dozen onshore casinos in Goa. The state government earns a percentage of the entry fee charged by the casinos to each individual patron, but Chodankar said, that there was not a single official to oversee and count how many gamblers visit a particular casino on any given day.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Wheat board to buy Saskatchewan grain terminal as part of privatization plan by The Canadian Press Posted Jun 23, 2014 11:38 am MDT WINNIPEG – The Canadian Wheat Board is purchasing a grain-handling company in western Saskatchewan as part of a privatization plan.The federally owned grain marketer said Monday it has reached an agreement to buy all of the common shares of Great Sandhills Terminal Ltd. for $17.4 million pending approval by shareholders.The deal includes a grain-handling facility near Leader, Sask., and a shortline railway in the region.Dayna Spiring, the CWB’s chief strategy officer, said the purchase strengthens the board’s network, which includes other grain facilities in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.“It is a very big piece of our puzzle and we are not done yet,” Spiring said.“To privatize and to be a successful grain company the CWB has always said that we need to have a network of assets across Western Canada.”The deal through a wholly owned subsidiary is to be financed through a combination of the corporation’s retained earnings and commercial borrowing, she said.Great Sandhill’s board of directors has unanimously endorsed the sale and is recommending that shareholders approve the transaction at a meeting expected to be held in August.Spiring suggested the Canadian Wheat Board now wants to add a facility in Alberta to its network.Earlier this month the CWB announced it had wrapped up a $43.2 million deal to buy all of the shares of Prairie West Terminal Ltd. in Saskatchewan.The corporation announced last November it would buy all shares of Mission Terminal, Les Elevateurs des Trois-Rivieres, and Services Maritimes Laviolette from Upper Lakes Group Inc.Mission Terminals markets crops around the world and operates grain-handling facilities in Western Canada and Thunder Bay, Ont.Les Elevateurs des Trois-Rivieres in Trois-Rivieres, Que., has loading and storage facilities than can handle 110,000 tonnes of grain per year.The price of that deal was not disclosed.Under federal law, the CWB is to be privatized no later than August 2017, but the corporation said it expects to beat that deadline.It hopes to provide Ottawa with its privatization plan within a year, Spiring said.The federal government passed a law in 2011 that stripped the Canadian Wheat Board of its monopoly on western wheat and barley sales.Farmers can still market their grain through the board, but now it is a voluntary decision.— By John Cotter in Edmonton