UGDP vice-president Radharao Gracias and secretary general Anacleto Viegas threatened to launch a mass agitation from Dabolim if the government went ahead with work on the Mopa airport. Both Gracias and Viegas criticized the BJP government while alleging that the airport stood to benefit Maharashtra given its proximity to the neighboring state and that such tactics to bring Goa and Maharashtra closer had been strongly opposed in the ‘opinion poll’.
They demanded that the BJP government make it clear if the late Saldanha had shifted his stance regarding the Mopa airport when he joined the party and appealed to Matanhy’s wife Alina Saldanha to lead the agitation against the airport to protect her late husband’s legacy.
“The UGDP wishes to point out that the late Matanhy Saldanha had throughout his life demanded that Dabolim airport should be Goa’s civilian airport and had over the years agitated for the purpose and even on the floor of the House,” said Viegas. He chose to remind the BJP that after the death of Saldanha, they had publicly committed to ensure that Saldanha’s vision for Goa is fulfilled.
“BJP is cremating his vision and if the BJP has any respect for Matanhy it ought to forthwith reconsider and revoke its decision to build an airport at Mopa,” said Gracias.
The UGDP leaders further accused the BJP government of “trying to hoodwink” the people with false assurances and claimed that irrespective of any promises made, “the Dabolim airport would shut down the moment the new airport at Mopa becomes functional”.
” It is so because the Dabolim civilian airport which has been usurped by the Indian Navy following Operation Vijay is presently permitted for limited civilian use only because there is no other airport in the state.” said Gracias.