Current Affairs

CM remarks on Reginald’s questions Absurd

Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai addressing the media on the issue of land acquisition for parking for Dabolim airport. He said that the absurdity of Chief Minister’s response to Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginald was not surprising. Parrikar has made so many U-turns in the last 9 months that he has now run out of credible excuses. His advice to Reginald that he should tell the Prime Minister to ask the Indian Navy to give up land is also proof that Parrikar does not believe in the federal and democratic structure of our country. Parrikar should remember that the Prime Minister of the country is his Prime Minister also and that, as CM of Goa, he should be making the request to the PM on behalf of all Goans. He should stop playing to the gallery as he has been doing for the last 9 months and get down to business to protect the future of all Goans.

Sardesai said that he wanted to remind Parrikar that, as Leader of the Opposition, he had said that land acquisition notices were being issued to force people to sell land cheaply. That, in other words, it was a real estate racket being operated by the ruling politicians. Today, he claims that the particular acquisition of land itself was wrong, supporting the de-notification. This appears to totally contradict his earlier stand and is just one more complete U-turn.

Sardesai also added that the CM’s statements seek to inflame regional sentiments to mask the real issue of the survival of South Goa’s tourism industry. The Fatorda MLA agreed that the Indian Navy’s expansionist attitude has to be resisted, as it has always been by the people who truly care for Goa. But it is surprising that the jingoistic BJP which has always supported this attitude of the Navy in the name of national security, today speaks a different language altogether. This overnight change is only a convenience, under which garb, the end can be justified. He added that Goans should not fall prey to this drama being enacted to help the private builder and jeopardise the future of the Dabolim airport. Parrikar should also not equate the Airports Authority of India with the Indian Navy as far as handing over land to AAI is concerned as the land that AAI takes over is used for public purposes.

Sardesai reminded Parrikar that he has time till 1st January 2013 to acquire land for parking at Dabolim, failing which a people’s movement will be launched. He should be clear and transparent before the people of Goa and should say that he does not want to acquire any land, if his real intention is that. He should also remember that it was a commitment from the State Government to the Civil Aviation Ministry to provide ample land for parking at Dabolim. He should desist from delivering confusing statements, which the people are now seeing through. His statement that Mopa will go ahead is to finish off Dabolim and means that the only project going on in Goa today of approximately Rs 500 crores will be sabotaged for the cause of vested interests. It should also be noted that Dabolim airport is the third largest airport project of the Civil Aviation Ministry and is one of the prestigious projects of the Ministry.

Sardesai said that the excuse being dished out by Parrikar that Mopa is required for Goa as Dabolim is already congested has been proved a lie by the many reports that have been prepared by various agencies. Presently the capacity of Dabolim to handle 2750 passengers per hour is enough to cater to the needs of Goa for the next 10-12 years. The only infrastructural deficit is parking which the present Govt seems to be deliberately unwilling to provide. Also the argument that parking area should be immediately adjacent to the airport is flawed as normally parking is kept at a reasonable distance from the terminal building and security measures also demand that the parking area should not be in close proximity to the sensitive areas. It is known that providing only a parallel taxiway, which would cost the Navy and AAI totally Rs 75 crores, will increase the capacity of the present runway by 5 times, which is much more than that wanted for the next 20 years. The present capacity of the Dabolim airport is 25 million passengers per year, whereas the airport handled only 3.5 million passengers per year which is just 12 per cent. The provision of city-side facilities like parking, warehousing and fuelling is the responsibility of the state government and the obviously deliberate process to not provide any of these will only assure the death of Dabolim airport.

Sardesai also reminde Parrikar that the second ICAO report had doubts about the viability of Mopa airport and had suggested that a study be conducted into this aspect. It had also recommended that augmentation of certain facilities at Dabolim, which were eminently possible, would ensure that Dabolim could cater to the whole of Goa for the next 2-3 decades.

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