Says clause will be included to ensure Dabolim airport will be operational

: While Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is determined to go ahead with floating the Request for Qualification (RFQ) for the construction of the Mopa airport before May 30, Goa Statehood Day, opponents of the project, appear to be unwilling to relent.

However, in a bid to allay apprehensions over the proposed airport, the Chief Minister on Saturday said the government would soon issue a notification freezing all land development within a five-km radius from the proposed airport. He asserted that the government would insert a clause in the Request for Proposal (RFP) that the Dabolim airport in south Goa would remain operational, and promised to build four and six-lane highways connecting north and south Goa in four years.

“No one will be able to simply change the terms of reference by removing the clause in the future. If anyone dares to remove the clause, it would be open to a vigilance probe,” Mr. Parrikar said.

Floriano Lobo, president of Goa Suraj Party, which is also opposing the Mopa airport, recalled on Sunday that such a ‘clause’ was included in the contract while handing over the Anjediva island by the then Chief Ministers of Goa Pratapsing Rane and Ravi Naik to the Indian Navy, and through this particular clause the Navy was obligated to effect entry of Goa’s pilgrims to worship at the Anjediva Church on a yearly basis.

However, he said that much to the plight of pilgrims, the Navy had disregarded the clause and the dispute had spilled over even in Parliament.

“If Mr. Parrikar thinks that Goans will want to be tested once again on mere ‘clauses’ he is mistaken,” said Mr. Lobo.

Moreover, he raised the issue of feasibility of having two international airports in Goa, citing reports of agencies like the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

After the recent public meetings by activists in Margao in south Goa last week, the Chief Minister is trying to allay apprehensions that Mopa would spell doom for tourism in south Goa keeping an eye on the parliamentary election, say political analysts.

  • CM says clause in RFP would ensure Dabolim airport would remain operational

  • No one will be able to remove the clause in the future