Karwar: Labour minister Shivaram Hebbar, who is the minister in charge of Uttara Kannada, on Monday stated that the district should have casinos to attract tourists and residents and the media should support this move.
Addressing the media after a Karnataka Rajyotsava programme, Hebbar said that although the district has great potential for tourism development, it had not been explored by successive governments. Neighbouring Goa, which is smaller in area and population compared to Uttara Kannada district, attracted a large number of tourists across the globe.
“The main income source of that state is tourism and we should be in a position to compete with them,” he said.
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, he said. It can be done with the participation of private parties. Hotel, water adventures, forest and water tourism can be increased, he said.
“One cannot stop people from spending money in casinos. People from Uttara Kannada and other districts go to Goa and spend it in casinos. So, if we set up casinos here, money will be spent in our district,” he said.
When reminded that the BJP had opposed when previous the Congress government had proposed casinos in Arabian Sea, off Karwar, Hebbar said that it was true. But stances change with the time, he added.
The state government will make an all-effort to restart work of the Hubballi-Ankola railway line which was stopped because of some “environmentalists”, the minister said.
He said the environmentalists were preventing development in the name of the environment. “The development, generation of employment, tourism and the preservation of environment should go hand in hand,” he said.
Karwar MLA Roopali Naik, Uttara Kannada DC Mullai Mugilan, SP Suman Penekar, ZP CEO Priyanka M, Assistant Commissioner Vidyashree Chandaragi were present.