PM Modi inaugurates first phase of Mopa international airport in Goa

PM Modi said the airport would be named Manohar International Airport after former Goa Chief Minister (late) Manohar Parrikar

Updated - December 11, 2022 09:02 pm IST

Published - December 11, 2022 07:33 pm IST - Panaji

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, and Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia at the inauguration of the Mopa airport in Goa on December 11, 2022. Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, and Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia at the inauguration of the Mopa airport in Goa on December 11, 2022. Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the first phase of the Mopa greenfield international airport in Goa even as he targeted previous governments for adopting a “vote bank approach” instead of creating public amenities.

He said the new airport would be named the Manohar International Airport after former Goa Chief Minister (late) Manohar Parrikar, a BJP stalwart.

“The airport will be named after my former colleague and ex-chief minister Manohar Parrikar,” Mr. Modi said.

Parrikar was a senior leader of the BJP from Goa who had also served as Defence Minister.

Addressing a gathering on the occasion, the prime minister said the airport infrastructure doubled due to the outlook of his government, making air travel affordable for the middle class.

“The previous governments had a vote bank approach for decades instead of finding what people needed in terms of creating public amenities.

“Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had planned this airport for Goa. After him, the following government hardly did anything for this airport. Post-2014, Goa got the double engine of development and we did all the things at an increased pace,” he said.

Mr. Modi said air travel was considered a luxury before 2014 as only rich people could afford to fly.

“There was no investment made in the aviation sector failing to tap its potential. The country had only 70 airports even 70 years after Independence till 2014,” he said.

Mr. Modi said his government started expanding the network of airports and during the last 7-8 years, 72 airports were created.

“A scheme like UDAN was introduced making travel affordable for the common people to fly. Until 2014, six crore passengers flew annually in India, whose number has gone up to 14 crore, of which one crore flew under UDAN scheme,” the PM said.

Mr/ Modi said despite legal battles and the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, “We could complete the construction of the airport and now opening it for the public”.

He said India has become the world’s third largest aviation market and added the Centre has worked on “Ease of Travel” for foreigners who want to visit India.

“We know tourism increases the soft power of the country. At the same time, when a country’s power increases, the world wants to know about the country. The world gets attracted towards it,” he said.

The Prime Minister said India’s image on the global platform has changed and the people are eager to know about the country.

“It is necessary to ensure that we offer ease of travel. Keeping this in mind, the government has taken steps like offering visa on arrival and the introduction of modern infrastructure and providing last mile connectivity,” he added.

Mr. Modi said 40 lakh passengers will use the Mopa airport every year, which could rise to 3.5 crore passengers.

“This will definitely benefit tourism. A cargo hub will offer more opportunities for Goa. Sectors like fruits and pharma products will also benefit due to the new airport,” he added.

With Mopa, Goa has got another international airport which is located 50 km apart from the south Goa-based Dabolim facility, operated as a civil enclave in the Indian Navy’s air station INS Hansa.

The first phase of the ₹2,870 crore Mopa airport project will cater to around 4.4 million passengers per annum (MPPA), which can be expanded to a saturation capacity of 33 MPPA, an official said.

The airport has been built on the theme of sustainable infrastructure and has a solar power plant, green buildings, LED lights on the runway, rainwater harvesting, state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant with recycling facilities, among other such facilities.

It has adopted some of the best-in-class technologies like 3-D Monolithic Precast buildings, StabilRoad, Robomatic Hollow precast walls, and 5G compatible IT infrastructure.

The foundation stone of this airport was laid by PM Modi in November 2016. A senior official had said flight operations from Mopa airport will start from January 5 next year.

Earlier in the day, Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant paid tributes to late Parrikar at Miramar in Panaji.

Sawant visited the Miramar beach where the mortal remains of Parrikar were cremated in March 2019.

“Bhai, we always remember you. One more dream of yours is completed in the form of Mopa Airport. Your blessings will motivate us to work for Goa and Goans. Heartfelt tributes to you,” he tweeted in Konkani. 

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