The proposed Greenfield international airport in Mopa is nothing but a ploy by politicians cutting across political lines to push real estate rates up for their benefits, a group of farmers alleged on Tuesday.
Addressing a Press conference in Panaji on Tuesday, Mopa Vimantall Pidit Xetkar Samiti, a body of farmers protesting against the acquisition of land for the proposed international airport, named three politicians, who had purchased land in the vicinity of the airport site at Mopa village, located 40 kms north of the capital, near the Goa-Maharashtra border.
Samiti’s secretary Sandeep Kambli, said, “Laxmikant Parsenkar, Ramakant Khalap and Wilson Godinho, brother of Congress MLA Mauvin Godinho are those who we know have bought land near Mopa. We have copies of the sale deeds in their names. There maybe more, we do not know about yet,” Kambli said.
The samiti said that the State does not need a second airport and that the new one is being forced on the State. Neither of the politicians named have denied making the purchases rather sought to justify them.
BJP spokesperson Damodar Naik said that the Parsekar’s land purchases at Mopa were genuine and without ulterior motive. Khalap and Mauvin who have both publicly supported the coming up of the new airport have insisted that their support was for the holistic development. and ‘jobs’ a functioning airport would give the local residents.
Goa presently has one airport, run by the Indian Navy, while the civilian terminal is controlled by the Airports Authority of India. The airport is at Dabolim and is equidistant from Goa’s north, south and eastern extremes.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has also defended the airport saying that increasing air passenger traffic, combined with military restrictions on timing and access to areas within the airport had forced both the central as well as the State Government to start another airport in north Goa.
The Mopa airport, on a plateau at Goa’s northernmost tip, however, as been the centre of a political storm especially since the current Government decided to fast track the process, almost creating a North Goa-South Goa divide.
South Goa politicians claim that once Mopa is operational, the military airport at Dabolim would be off-limits to civilians. The extent of how real this fear us was exemplified by the fact that the proponents of the airport have had to repeatedly insist that Dabolim will not be shut down.
Kambli along with 60 farmers have already approached the Bombay High court seeking a stay on the acquisition of over 23 lakh sq mts land required for the airport.
- Mopa airport: Ministers told to walk the talk (thehindu.com)