Tuesday, November 22, 2011

PAC directs government to close casinos as they are operating illegally

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today directed government to close operations of nine casinos after they failed to clear their outstanding royalty dues and renew their operating licence on time.
Out of ten casinos, nine — which have an outstanding Rs 490.18 million royalty dues also — failed to renew their licences, according to Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.
The committee directs the government to close down their operation within 15 days, according to the PAC.
The only casino that renewed its licence on time was Casino Shangri-La, according to the ministry. "Casinos cannot operate their services since they have failed to follow legal provision."
Casino has to pay Rs 20 million at the beginning of fiscal year to renew their licence, according to Finance Ministry. Lawmakers also directed the concerned ministries to collect dues strictly at the earliest from those casinos. The parliamentarian also directed the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation to endorse new regulation within a month.
"Regulation is a must to end irregularities," lawmakers said, asking the ministry to provide the progress report on royalty dues collection every 15 days to the committee.
The meeting also urged the concerned ministries to abide by its earlier decision, secretary at the committee Som Bahadur Thapa said. PAC had in February directed ministries concerned to shift the casinos out of the valley gradually. However, there has been no progress so far.
Currently, there are 10 casinos — Casino Royale at Hotel & Yeti, Casino Venus at Hotel Malla, Casino Rad at Hotel Radisson, Casino Grande at Hotel Pokhara Grande, Fulbari Casino at Hotel Fulbari, Casino Nepal at Hotel Soaltee, Casino Anna at Hotel de’l Annapurna, Casino Everest at Hotel Everest, Casino Tara at Hotel Hyatt and Casino Shangri-La at Hotel Shangri-La.
Of them, two casinos are in Pokhara and rest are being operated in the the valley. The operation of Casino Nepal and Casino Royale has already been halted due to labour-management dispute.

The dues
Casino Anna – Rs 129.5 million
Casino Royale – Rs 45.2 million
Casino Everest – Rs 21 million
Casino Tara – Rs 13.4 million
Casino Nepal – Rs 147.3 million
Casino Rad – Rs 20.5 million
Casino Venus – Rs 10.5 million
Casino Fulbari – Rs 80.9 million
Casino Grande – Rs 18.3 million
(Source: Finance Ministry)


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