A day after being accused by church groups of being a bare-faced liar, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma cleared the air about his government’s stance on the setting up of casinos in Meghalaya.
It was on Monday when Taxation Minister James PK Sangma had informed the Assembly that the government had issued three temporary licences for casinos in Ri-Bhoi.
However, in the days leading up to the session, the CM had informed a committee of stakeholders that the government had put aside the plans for the casinos because of the strong public opposition.
By way of clarification, the CM today said that the licences were issued before the call to halt proceedings was issued by the government.
“We are not going to move any further than where we are,” Sangma said. “Before this debate started and before we had met these NGOs (opposed to casinos) and the church leaders, certain processes had taken place and those were the processes that were mentioned in the house that day (Monday). Three provisional licences were given on the condition that within six or eight months operations had to start. Hence we have put a stop to everything after the discussion we had with the church leaders and the NGOs and we have not misguided anybody.”
The provisional licences will automatically lapse after a certain period, he added while reiterating that the project will not move forwards unless there is positive engagement from the community.