Goans For Dabolim Only (GFDO) has threatened to beef up the issue of the proposed Mopa airport in north Goa in the upcoming parliamentary elections if the State fails to scrap the project and return the excess land acquired to the farmers of Mopa and surrounding areas.

Addressing presspersons here on Saturday, a group of activists of GFDO led by Fr. Ermita Rebello reiterated their contention that Goa government must allot 36,000 sq. mt of additional land to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to expand the existing Dabolim international airport and thereby rule out the need for a second airport.

The GFDO reiterated their challenge to the Chief Minister for a public debate on the desirability of two airports for a tiny State like Goa. According to the Director of Dabolim Airport, just 12.5 acres additional land for civilian purposes inside the airport and nine acres of land outside it were sufficient to expand the airport to meet the needs of Goa perennially, said activist Rajendra Kakodkar.

The GFDO reiterated their demand to re-notify the land under Survey 8\1, which was crucial for Dabolim airport expansion, in view of the fact that it was de-notified by the erstwhile government under false assumption and permitted to fall into the hands of commercial builders.

Fr. Rebello said the movement was being broad-based by holding public meetings in north Goa to educate people about the way the State was neglecting the needs of Dabolim airport and chasing the Mopa proposal instead.

While welcoming a recent statement of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar that the government was going as per the legal provisions and that no work on Mopa airport would start till the environment impact assessment (EIA) was completed, Fr. Rebello wondered how the same Mr. Parrikar acquired community resources like land even before the EIA was completed and a feasibility of the proposed airport had been established.

Suspecting that a large area of land was being acquired for private interests of some people, the GFDO questioned the government why 80 lakh sq. mt. land was needed for the airport when many airports in the other States had come up in much less land.

Mr. Kakodkar accused the government of hiding the facts regarding Dabolim airport and the Mopa project from the public. Last week Mr. Parrikar said a relevant website was getting ready to make the information publicly available.

‘Goa government must allot 36,000 sq. mt of additional land to expand Dabolim international airport’