Tuesday 26 March 2019

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Infrastructure | Transport

BJP stalling Goa's international air port ?

 

Goa's proposal for an international air port is presently hanging fire, thanks to local BJP leaders' attempts to stall it, probably to safeguard interest of Maharashtra.

The site at Mopa, situated on Goa-Maharashtra border along the Konkan belt, was approved in principle two months ago by a joint committee of civil aviation ministry and Airport Authority of India.

But the local BJP leaders claim that final decision is yet to be taken, though chief minister Pratapsing Rane feels otherwise. "All decisions need not be conveyed in writings", he claims.

It appears that the local saffron leaders are planning to stall the proposal of the local Congress government as the Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra is also pushing for an international air port in the Konkan region.

Obviously, considering the distance between Mopa and three sites proposed by Maharashtra government, the ministry would not be in a position to sanction another international air port along the west coast, to boost the tourism industry.

With Shiv Sena-BJP ruling alliance losing its base all over the state except in the Konkan region, this move from the Goa BJP is looked upon as yet another attempt to consolidate their position in the coastal region, by denying international air port to Goa.

"I am not aware of any such plans of the Maharashtra government", claims Manohar Parrikar, the BJP legislator. But he also feels that constructing another air port in Goa would be a wasteful expenditure when the existing naval air port could be used to its full capacity with minor adjustments.

"The problem can be solved by shifting naval traffic to the Sea Bird naval base coming up at Karwar, hardly 50 kms from Dabolim", feels Parrikar. They are planning to request their central leaders to give a second thought to the proposal of international air port.

While Parrikar denies that it is a move to allow Maharashtra government's proposal, chief minister Pratapsing Rane also feels that his Maharashtra counterpart will not think narrow-mindedly. "In any case, we get many more tourists than Maharashtra", he points out.

The joint venture project, involving a private enterprise along with the Goa government, is estimated at around Rs 2000 crore. Once the approval is sought, the local authorities plan to commission it in two years.

The joint committee that visited the state in March has also noted that the existing Dabolim air port, which is actually owned by the Navy and part of it is being allowed to be used for civilian purpose, is not enough for increasing number of domestic as well as charter flights.






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