Friday 24 May 2019

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Infrastructure | Transport

Central committee chooses Mopa for air port

 

After waiting for over three long years, Goa now hopes to get an international civilian air port of its own, clearing a major hurdle of infrastructure in the tourist state.

The central government, in principle, has given a green signal to the proposal as well as one of the sites, after inspecting it in person and witnessing the problems faced by the commuters at the Dabolim air port.

Since its liberation, Goa has been partially utilising the naval air port at Dabolim, in the port town of Vasco, to handle its civilian traffic. However, it now becomes unmanageable with thousands of domestic and foreign tourists coming to Goa, including the increasing number of charter flights.

While Goa's genuine issue got caught up into a broader controversy of several other states demanding air ports in their respective regions, it got expedited when former prime minister H D Deve Gowda took it up at a priority level, following his visit in December last.

The official nod, in principle, has come from the joint sub-committee of the civil aviation ministry and the Airport Authority of India, who last month conducted site inspection of the existing airport as well as the new proposed sites.

The sub-committee personally witnessed problems faced by the commuters at Dabolim while the confusion over landing of charter flights still continues. They have also taken into consideration the growth potential of civilian traffic in the tourist state in the near future.

The central officials have also approved the site at Mopa, a village on Goa-Maharashtra border in the Konkan region for the new air port. Quittol, another site adjoining Karnataka state in South Goa, has been outrightly rejected after inspection.

"We are now awaiting the final report, which would also propose guidelines for its capacity and private participation in building it", said Dr G C Srivastava, the state chief secretary.

The Goa government has suggested a joint venture between the government and a private firm to build the air port and operate the civilian traffic. It would approximately cost Rs 2000 crore and is expected to be completed in two years.

The decision would apparently result in shelving the Maharashtra government's proposal of having the international air port in Sindhudurg district, across the Goa border, as a part of its tourism development plans in the Konkan region.

It has to be however seen whether the new BJP-led government gives its final approval to the proposal of officials, in view of the Shiv Sena - BJP government's forceful demand for the new air port in the Konkan region, which has saved the government image by winning the Lok Sabha seats.






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