Panaji, March 25: A proposed airport at Mopa plateau is nothing but a land scam orchestrated by politicians from both the Congress and the BJP, the AAP alleged Tuesday.
Releasing a provisional manifesto, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Oscar Rebello said several politicians from both the mainstream parties had purchased land around the proposed airport site and that the AAP would reveal their names soon.
The proposed airport site is located 45 km north of Panaji.
“This is nothing but a land scam. It’s not that we are against an airport or large infrastructural projects. But Goa does not need an airport that urgently. The upgraded airport will serve Goa’s need for several years to come,” Rebello said.
“Most of the land in the surrounding area belongs to politicians or their close supporters and the present government is keeping the proposal alive to keep land prices inflated and then sell to unsuspecting buyers,” AAP’s draft manifesto for the state reads.
“With the airport at Sindhudurg (a south Maharashtra district bordering Goa) being ready by the year-end, it does not even make Mopa financially viable,” it adds.
Over the past few years, Goa has been split geographically with mainstream politicians in north Goa backing the greenfield airport project, cleared by the union civil aviation ministry more than a decade back.
Politicians from the south, mostly from the Congress, opposed the project when in the opposition but have spoken in favour of it when they were part of the ruling dispensation.
Goa currently has one international airport at Dabolim, operated by the Indian Navy.
The Goa government’s draft investment policy 2013 positions the Mopa airport as an aviation cargo hub and a source for several thousand jobs.
“With this large facility (at Mopa) coming up, the government of Goa is encouraging synergistic investments in the following areas of aviation and aerospace (namely) research and development, engineering design and technology solutions, manufacturing of components, assembly and testing facilities,” reads the policy.
It says the airport at Mopa was designed to handle 13.1 million passengers by 2045 and that would also contain a cargo hub as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities.