Panaji: Dismissing criticism over the proposed greenfield international airport at Mopa in Goa, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today said those living abroad were misleading the people of the state over the issue. “People who try to misguide the locals are those who stay in places where there are eight to ten airports within ten kms area. There are some foreign nationals, maybe of Indian origin, but now foreigners, they mislead the people,” Parrikar told reporters here today.
“They (foreign nationals) stay in the areas where there are ten airports. When you go to London there are four airports there itself. Every place where there is development there is more than one airport,” he added. Parrikar was reacting to the opposition by a section of the people to the proposed Greenfield airport in Mopa, second airport in the state.
The Chief Minister said that the apprehensions raised by a few of the cabinet colleagues like Environment Minister Alina Saldanha, on the project, have been addressed. “All her apprehensions were addressed during the cabinet meeting which passed request for qualification (RFQ) of Mopa airport,” he said.
The state government has now decided to hold public sessions by invitation to clear the air on the proposed airport.
“I have decided that in the first week of November, we will hold a public session by invitation. It is not for the people who are violent on the issue, but who are serious on it,” he said.
The interactive session will help them understand how the government is working on the airport scenario, he added. “There will be at least two sessions, both in South Goa. There is no opposition in North Goa. It is Salcette taluka, where there is some reaction, so we will explain the issue to them,” the Chief Minister said.
The government has also decided to launch a website giving details about the airport.
“Former chief minister Pratapsingh Rane was the first one to suggest the Mopa airport. After that there was a long debate in the Assembly, where everyone has expressed very clearly that if there are two airports and if both remain open they have no objection,” he added.
Parrikar said that the assembly discussions held on the issue would be uploaded on the website. “We have done extensive exercise of collecting all the documents...It was approved much before I came into the picture. I gave the push by appointing International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to study the project,” he said.
The actual work on the greenfield international airport at Mopa would begin next year, after the procedures of obtaining environment impact assessment (EIA) and other tendering processes are completed, Parrikar said earlier. The state currently has one airport at Dabolim, which is managed by the Indian Navy.