Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said all concerns for the greenfield airport in Goa had been addressed, and global tenders for the project would be invited in September.
After sweeping to power earlier this year, Parrikar has pushed for the airport in Mopa, north Goa. Though the project had secured the Centre’s in-principle approval in March 2000, it has been stuck ever since, owing to land acquisition woes and litigation. Politicians from south Goa have also protested against the project, saying it would considerably increase travel time to the new airport from south Goa.
“Whenever we set about projects, people always have differing views. There are difficulties. We will overcome these. There are no hurdles in the way. We will complete 95 per cent of the land acquisition by July, and plan to issue global tenders in September,” Parrikar told Business Standard.
Affected villagers, however, are unhappy with the government’s acquisition and rehabilitation plans.
“The government is not even offering market rates,” claims Siddarth Karapurkar of the Goan Farmers Collective.
The airport at Dabolim serves as a naval base and, despite its upgrade and a new terminal at a cost of Rs 500 crore, it can handle only 4.5 million passengers. The state government estimates the Mopa airport, on completion of all its phases, can handle 30 million passengers by 2045.
Concern has also been raised on the viability of the second airport, as the Dabolim airport would also remain functional. Critics say an International Civil Aviation study, too, expressed similar fears. Parrikar, however defends the decision. “Dabolim Airport would be saturated in three-four years. It has restrictions and does not allow flying during certain hours. Traffic is also growing. In my opinion, airport developers would queue for the project,” he said, adding, “The airport would be developed through private participation. The Goa government’s contribution would be land. A financial consultant has been appointed to prepare bid conditions and the report would be available by July-August.”