BJP-led Goa govt unveils common minimum programme, to shift casinos away from Mandovi river

PTI June 18, 2017 20:59:33 IST
BJP-led Goa govt unveils common minimum programme, to shift casinos away from Mandovi river

Panaji: The`common minimum programme' (CMP) of BJP-led Goa government, announced on Sunday, promised to shift off-shore casinos from the river Mandovi.

BJPled Goa govt unveils common minimum programme to shift casinos away from Mandovi river

Representational image. Reuters

"Among various issues on which coalition partners have agreed as the common minimum programme, it has been decided that off-shore casinos would be shifted from Mandovi," agriculture minister Vijai Sardesai told reporters.

He didn't give any timeframe. "They would be moved out in the earliest possible time," he said.

"We have not said where they will be shifted as we don't have a clear picture at the moment," Sardesai said.

Manohar Parrikar cobbled together a coalition of BJP, Goa Forward Party, MGP and independents as the Assembly election earlier this year threw a fractured mandate. The coalition partners had decided to come out with a CMP.

The CMP also said that coconut palm would be reclassified as a tree. The earlier government had removed coconut from the category of tree. It had been alleged that this would lead to large-scale cutting down of coconut palms as they would lose the legal protection granted to trees.

"The CMP also speaks of declaring coconut palm as the state tree," Sardesai said.

The government will review all the cases cleared by the investment promotion board "because there are apprehensions that red-category (hazardous) industries were cleared in the name of (generating) employment," Sardesai said.

The private sector will have to follow the guidelines mandating 80 percent employment to the local people, he said. In the tourism sector, it should be "for Goenkar (Goa natives), of Goenkar and by Goenkar," he said.

"For agriculture we are talking about creating floriculture estates and creating farmers' markets, creating a brand `born in Goa' (BIG) (for farm/horticultural produce)," he said.

On the contentious issue of nationalisation of state rivers, the CMP speaks about a tripartite agreement between National Waterways Authority of India, Captain of Ports and Mormugao Port Trust so that "Goan rivers remain with Goan people," he said.

"You don't have to seek permission from Delhi for development of rivers," he said.

The CMP also promised to continue with existing Medium of Instruction (MOI) policy with focus on quality education.

"The state has announced that mother-tongue would be MOI, but has also given grants to certain schools which impart education in English," he said.

Another promise the CMP made is creation of hubs for affordable housing by 2020, and rehabilitation of slums.

Also, the national highways passing through the state would be widened as a part of the CMP, Sardesai said.

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