Nongkrem MLA Lambor Malngiang has expressed shock at the announcement by Tax Minister James Sangma that three temporary licenses have been issued for the operation of casinos in the state.
Malngiang said he will submit a memorandum to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma tomorrow at his office in the Assembly to demand the cancellation and removal of all casino licenses issued so far and the immediate removal of the law on Meghalaya games.
“I and a number of deputies have made it clear to the state government that we are opposed to the establishment of casinos in our state. We asked our minister friends if they were aware of the decision to create casinos in the state. They told us they had no knowledge of it. Even Deputy Chief Minister Tynsong had said that the government would go according to the people’s sentiment. But two days ago, James Sangma informed the House that the casino licenses had been issued. It clearly showed that the decision was taken without respecting the suggestions made by us MPs on this,” Malngiang said.
Malngiang also said that when the MP for North Shillong, Adelbert Nongrum introduced a bill for the repeal of the Meghalaya Gaming Act, a number of lawmakers in power left the House when the House permission was given. been requested for a voice vote.
“Me and Minister Hamlet Dohling, Jason Sawkmie, Gavin Mylliem, Pius Rani and Eugeneson Lyngdoh are out. It shows that in addition to me, these MPs are also not in favor of this Meghalaya gambling law,” he said.
The MP for Nongkrem also said that various religious leaders have come forward to express their opposition to the establishment of casinos and various organizations have also expressed their opposition.
“I fear for the future of our youth. Once a casino is open there will be all kinds of things that we all know about. Even in Delhi, which is the capital of our country, the government has not thought of opening casinos,” he said.
Regarding Sangma’s statement that casinos will attract tourists to the state, Malngiang said that Meghalaya is known for its scenic beauty and tourists who have visited the state have come to enjoy its beauty. According to him, in 2019-20, the influx of tourists to the state was around 14,000 to 15,000 per month.
“These tourists didn’t come here for the casinos,” he said.