Panaji : The Goa government will better serve the people by bringing back on track the state’s health infrastructure rather than opening casinos or going ahead with an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festival, said Kiran Kandolkar, the newly-appointed Working President of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), on Monday. Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Kandolkar said opening of casinos and organising EDM festivals in the state would add to the Covid-19 cases, which crossed 43,000 in the country’s smallest state on Sunday. “Government should not rush into certain things. We know casinos bring revenue to Goa, but the pandemic is still active here. India has reported less than one per cent cases compared to the country’s population but in Goa we have crossed three per cent when it comes to our population of 1.5 million,” Kandolkar added.
Casinos in Goa reopened on November 1 and have been instructed to maintain a 50 per cent occupancy following both the Central as well as the state government’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The state has six offshore and several other onshore casinos operating from five-star resorts. The organisers of the Sunburn EDM festival, Percept Live, have announced the 14th edition of the event in Goa from December 27 to 29. The organisers have said that all SOPs will be in place for the event to be held with a limited capacity.
The former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA, who joined the GFP in October this year, said improving the health infrastructure in the state must be a priority. “The Goa government should concentrate on improving health facilities here. Six hundred persons have died due to Covid-19 among the 1.5 million population. Many of them were young which is unfortunate,” Kandolkar added. “The UK has started a second phase of lockdown anticipating a second wave but this government is playing with the health of the people of Goa,” Kandolkar said.