Dabolim Airport Scam: Congress Act, BJP Cover-Up!
The erstwhile Congress government perpetrated the Dabolim Airport Scam, the current BJP-led government who raised the issue of the Airport. Scam issue prior to the election and even verbally committed of getting back the land for airport parking is now working towards covering up the scam and walking on the similar path of the former goverment. GoaChronicle.com exposes…
As early as 2007, Goa government agrees to acquire land, notifies land for acquisition to be given to Airports Authority of India for Airport parking facility. But in 2011 the Government of Goa denotifies the land on objection from claimed owners of the land, it then identifies another 70,000 sqmts land for parking which turns out to be belonging to the Ministry of Defence.
In March 2011 land admeasuring 36,800 sqmts in Mormugao, Dabolim – Survey No 8/1 which was to be acquired by the Government of Goa to be given to the Airports Authority of India was de-notified through a Cabinet decision and subsequently another 70,000 sqmts of land as per Outline Development Plan (ODP-2011) for Vasco da Gama by the Mormugao Planning and Development Authority which was set aside for parking was proposed by the Government as suitable replacement option. However, the alternate land suggested by the Government of Goa belongs to the Ministry of Defence, as per records on Form I and IV of the Goa Daman and Diu Land Revenue Code 1968.
From the start
In a Notification dated July 23, 2007 signed by the Under Secretary for the Governor of Goa it clearly states ‘The land mentioned in Schedule hereto (referring to Survey No 8/1 and Survey No 9/1 is likely to be needed for public purpose, viz. Land Acquisition for expansion of the Dabolim Airport (for parking)’. It further states that ‘All person interested in the said land are hereby warned not to obstruct or interfere with any surveyor or persons employed upon the said land for the purpose of the said acquisition. Any contract for the disposal of the said land by sale, lease, mortgage, assignment, exchange or otherwise or any outlay commenced on improvements without the sanction of the Collector appointed will be disregarded.’
Airport Authorities Report
In a report titled ‘Land Acquisition for Expansion of Dabolim Airport’ dated May 13, 2010 and signed by MK Vasta, SLAO Mopa Airport Cell; here are some interesting points that throw up a lot of questions;
On October 20, 2009 the Attorneys representing on behalf of the co-owners of Survey No 8/1 and 9/1 have filed their objections.
In respect to Survey No 8/1 and 9/1 of, which land is going to be acquired the Attorney who was present on behalf of the co-owners stated that his client had purchased the said land from the Communidade of Sancoale and after decades of litigation and necessary proceedings they have got the order to delete the name of the Communidade of Sancoale and include the name of actual and real owners. Now they are developing their land residential and commercial purpose as well as vehicle parking. By issuing the said Notification the Government has hindered and deprived the owners of title.’
In a site inspection report dated January 15, 2010, MK Vasta states:
In Survey No 8/1 it is noticed that there exists 20 structures and their status whether legal or illegal is not known. The said structures are not figuring in other right column of Form 1 & XIV. The area is classified as class (b) uncultivable land. The total area to be acquired for the proposed project is 36,800 sqmts.
In Survey No 9/1 it is noticed that there exists three structures and their status whether legal or illegal is not known. The said structures are not figuring in guide column of Form 1 & XIV and the area is shown as Garden
The D’Costa Angle
Mormugao Planning and Development Authority issued a letter to Bernard D’Costa titled ‘Your application under inward No 1542 dated 7/2/2011. It states that parking area of 76,500 sqmts has been proposed in ODP-2011 for Vasco da Gama. This is issued based on the Notification in the Official Gazette vide Series III No 45 dated 5/2/09 as finally approved ODP-2011 and it was signed by RK Pandita, member secretary.
In a meeting dated February 14, 2011 on the Land Acquisition for the expansion of Dabolim Airport held at 11 am under the Chairmanship of the Former Chief Minister of Goa, Digambar Kamat other dignitaries Jose Philip DeSouza, former Revenue Minister, Mauvin Godinho, former Deputy Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly and Sanjay Srivastava, former Chief Secretary, D Paul Manickam, Airport Director – Goa, AAI and other government officials and AAI officials including Bernard D’Costa co-owner and Power of Attorney holders of other co-owners ; here are the important point to be noticed
Bernard D’Costa made a presentation on why the government needed to de-notify the land bearing Survey No 8/1 and admeasuring 36,800 sqmts and also expressed his willingness to give the Government of Goa an NOC for Survey No 9/1 admeasuring 20,050 sqmts for its utilization for development of Airport parking. Bernard also pleaded that the said land is under Settlement Zone.
Former Revenue Minister and Former Deputy Speaker pointed out that there is vacant space of 70,000 sqmts available opposite the airport.
Based on Bernard D’Costa plea and not taking into considerations the points raised by the Airport Director, AAI even the fact that AAI had already deposited Rs 4.25 crores based on the commitment given by the Government of Goa to the Civil Aviation Ministry ‘it was agreed upon that the request to not acquire the land under Survey No 8/1 could be considered and subsequently, PWD should initiate action to acquire vacant land which is available under emergency clause of Land Acquisition Act. The Revenue Department may take up action to drop land acquisition proceedings under Survey No 8/1.’
More importantly what was Mauvin Godinho, former Deputy Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly doing in this meeting.
The AAI Pleas
In a letter addressed to the Government of Goa on 15/3/2011 Airport Director, Goa, AAI pleas that the Government of Goa may kindly consider proceeding with the land acquisition in respect to Survey No 8/1 in view of the inescapable and imperative requirement of the area for airport development. The process of airport development will be irreversibly stunted and this will manifest in inadequate facilities for parking, alternate acquisition of remote/non-remote contiguous land areas, as a substitute for Survey No 8/1 will not, repeat, and not be useful for airport development as parking is to be provided in the near proximity of the airport.
Former CM Nod on De-Notification
In document No 17/49/2007 – GAD – II (XXXXIX) dated 11/03/2011 and titled ‘Confidential Most Immediate Cabinet Matter’, it reads ‘An extract of the decision taken on the Item/s in the XXXXIXth Cabinet Meeting of the Council of Ministers held on 09/03/2011 at 3.00 pm under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister in the Cabinet Room.
BJP Cover Up
Sources in the current BJP government have told GoaChronicle.com that the government in particular the Chief Minister insists on reclaiming the alternate land offered by the previous government belonging to the Navy, which is currently under litigation since the Indian Naval Authority have brought a stay from the Administrative Tribunal, Goa Government on the report of the Additional Collector – South Goa stating that the land does not belong to the Navy but the Chicalim Communidade.
More importantly it is learnt that Bernard D’Costa has sold the land to a prominent real estate developer from Vasco, who shares a favorable equation with both the Congress and BJP government, and also more importantly he extended his favors to the current government as pre-commitment before the election and also after the government came into power.
No inquiry has been instituted by the government to investigate into the deliberate de-notification of already notified land in its final stages. Instead the government prefers to assist the AAI is getting alternate land when after much feasibility between the AAI and Goa Public Works Department, the S.No 8/1 land was identified and committed by the then Goa government to the AAI and Ministry of Civil Aviation.