In a move that has raised eye-brows of many Goans, especially from South Goa, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar recently speaking at a media briefing stated that the Goa government will commence work on the North Goa Mopa Airport within a year after putting in place a viable Land Acquisition Policy in place for the people from whom the government acquires land.
Activists tracking the Mopa Airport issue feel that the government decision on the Mopa Airport is questionable namely because the justification for another airport in Goa in lieu of the existing airport at Dabolim has never been explained to the people of Goa by the previous government, who were ardently pursuing the Mopa Airport issue and now the BJP-led government appears to be towing the same line which is allegedly the line of the Central and State leaders who have acquired large tracts of land around Mopa and including the real estate and hotel companies.
Voicing his apprehension on the issue, Dr Hubert Gomes, a respected activist, opines that the government should come out with a white-paper to explain to the people of Goa the benefits of having an airport of Mopa, since the Dabolim Airport is a centrally located airport that would benefit people living in the North and South of Goa. And since there is a large scale speculation of the political and real estate lobbies’ interest on the Mopa airport land, it is imperative that the government explain the need for an airport in Mopa.
Yet another activist, on condition of anonymity, stated, that Parrikar is towing the same line on land based issues like the Congress-led government, offering a few benefits to people like the farmers in this case with subsidies, he will eventually convince them to sell their land for a better price and people will agree. The only difference is that this government will get them a better price for their land. In the long run agriculture in this state will suffer. And that appears to be the hidden agenda to make Goa into a brick-and-mortar destination. Even the Urban Development minister Francis D’Souza and the BJP President Nitin Gadkari talked about turning Goa into Singapore.