The Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday attacked the proposed Mopa airport in North Goa as a “big land scam involving 84 lakh sqm of people's land”, and backed continuation of Dabolim international airport as sufficient for Goa’s needs for next 100 years.
This was a clear stand taken on Sunday by AAP’s South Goa candidate Swati Kerkar who has been long associated with Goans For Only Dabolim (GFOD), a movement which spearheads opposition to dual airports for Goa.
In the same press conference, the North Goa candidate of AAP Dattaram Desai, however, took a muted stand saying he was aware of diverse opinions on Mopa airport issue, but he was yet to study full issue.
North Goa favours the setting up of a new airport at Mopa to usher in development in the backward Pernem taluk, while a big section of population of coastal South Goa opposing the same fearing it will adversely affect its five star tourism presently having closer access to Dabolim airport. The ruling BJP and the Congress are rooting for continuation of Dabolim even after Mopa is built, considering future needs.
The GFOD led by Fr. Ermito Rebello has opposed Mopa on grounds of land, which is a scarce resource in Goa.
Ms. Kerkar lashed out at the Goa government for describing 84 lakh sqm of land on Mopa plateau being acquired as barren land.
“It is not barren land, it is the land inhabited by tribals, there is cultivable land around, there are water resources and biodiversity which would be affected if the land is snatched for Mopa airport,” she said as she reiterated that the expanded Dabolim airport under Naval jurisdiction was sufficient for Goa’s civilian use for many more years.
AAP has already opposed casino tourism and demanded takeover of private sector iron ore mining by the government.