PANAJI: While grounding of casino ship MV Lucky 7 at the Miramar beach became an issue in the campaign for August 23 Panaji by-election, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today promised "quick action" after the code of conduct is lifted.
The ship ran aground in the second week of July due to heavy rains after hitting the Aguada sand bar.
It is still stuck on the beach, with activists fearing possibility of environmental damage to the coastline.
"If I intervene at this time, everyone will say that I am doing it for election. So let the (period of) election code of conduct get over. I will take quick action," said Parrikar, who is contesting the by-election to the Assembly from Panaji.
Removing the ship won't be difficult, as it is smaller than `River Princess' which had run aground on Candolim shore in 2000, he said.
"River Princess was 67,000 tonnes trans-shiper, while this (Lucky 7) is 4,000 tonnes," Parrikar said.
The opposition Congress made beaching of casino vessel a poll issue. Party's state unit chief, Shantaram Naik, demanded registration of FIR against Parrikar for "negligence". Congress candidate Girish Chodankar even started his campaign from Miramar beach itself.
Goa has five off-shore casinos anchored in River Mandovi, while Lucky 7 was on its way to join them before it ran aground.
The Congress, in its by-election manifesto, has assured to shift all the casinos from the Mandovi.
Parrikar said casino cannot be an issue in this election. "I have already explained on the floor of the House what steps the state government intends to take to shift casinos from river Mandovi. I will start working on that after the election," he said, when pointed out that removal of casinos does not figure in BJP's manifesto.