August 8, 2012 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Ludhiana (August 08, 2012): Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has retreated on Casino proposal. As per a news report by YesPunjab.Com – Sukhbir said that there was no proposal to open Casinos in the state.
“He has lashed on Congress party and said that it was spearheading the propaganda against his government even as a prominent national daily had published a report saying that the proposal was pursued on the orders of Deputy CM. The paper had also quoted concerned officers and even the finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa on the subject” reports Yespunjab, a news service owned by senior Journalist H. S. Bawa.
Talking to media in Mukatsar today (August 08, 2012) the junior Badal said that it was “propaganda of Congress party to depict SAD-BJP government in a bad light”.
It is pertinent to mention here that the proposal to set up casinos was revealed by Times of India in a front page story published on 4th of August. It may also be recalled that after the publication of the report, the proposal had come under sharp criticism.
Rohan Dua, Chandigarh Correspondent of TOI in his report had claimed that PIDB was asked to set up a Casiono at Mattewara village near Ludhiana and a three member team comprising a PIDB official and two members from an empanelled private agency ‘Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited’ (IL&FS) was sent on a four-day visit to Goa last week to study and explore the possibility of installing slot machines and casinos in Punjab, set to become third state in the country after Sikkim and Goa to have casinos.
The paper had claimed that the team had returned Thursday after holding meetings with Goa chief secretary P K Shrivastav and special secretary Mohan Lal and had a first hand experience of slot machines in casinos in Panjim.
Interestingly the paper had also claimed that it had a copy of the state visit report.
The paper had quoted PIDB managing director Anurag Aggarwal saying as “These casinos which we are planning are a part of our recreational amusement zone project near Ludhiana. The purpose is to increase the tourist footfall in the state. Our team has just returned from Goa after studying casinos. We’re going to seek more advice and help on legal, technical and operational details from Sikkim and Goa governments.”
The correspondent even talked to the finance minister on the subject and quoted him. The report said, “However, Punjab finance minister Parminder Dhindsa debunked the analogy between lotteries and casinos, saying the latter is only for recreational purpose.”
“The process is in the initial stages. Casinos will certainly be a big revenue generator. The purpose is not create forced taxation here. We only want to encourage local tourism because when you see the locals from here going to Nepal or Hong Kong, they spend huge money to enjoy these games. Times have changed. But we agree, there might be some criticism as well,” said Dhindsa.