Panaji, Nov 24 : A ruling BJP MLA on Tuesday likened the crowds thronging Goa's offshore casinos to merry mobs in Goa's famed Carnival parade, while bemoaning the lack of social distancing norms and non-observance of SOPs by the casino industry.

Speaking to reporters here, BJP MLA Atanasio Monserrate also expressed concern about increasing number of Covid-19 cases traced to Goa's offshore casinos, while urging Health Minister Vishwajit Rane to direct his officials to conduct an inspection to see whether SOPs are being followed in the offshore casinos of Goa.

"They (tourists) come here to have fun, but Goans should not be infected by Covid-19 because of this. I will be speaking to the Chief Minister and the Health Minister to see what can be done to check if SOPs are being followed," Monseratte said, commenting on the large unruly crowds outside the six offshore casinos operating in the Mandovi river off Panaji.

"No one is wearing masks. It is like a carnival. Goans may end up paying dearly for this. Maharashtra has even made testing compulsory for Goans. But here, it is free for all. According to the guidelines, they cannot allow operations like this," Monserrate said.

Carnival is a popular Catholic event which marks the beginning of the holy lent season. On Monday, after photos of thousands of tourists milling on beaches and outside casinos without masks and in violation of the social distancing norms, were published in the local media, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had announced an increase in penalty for not wearing masks from Rs 100 to Rs 200.

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