Make stand clear on Mopa, Dabolim airports: Lourenco tells Parrikar

MARGAO: Congress’ Curtorim MLA, Mr Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco on Saturday asked the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar to make clear his stand on the Dabolim and Mopa airports issue.

Addressing media, the Curtorim  MLA, Mr  Lourenco said, "Let the Chief Minister tell us what is his stand on the Dabolim  and Mopa airports. And, why is he hurriedly involving the private players in it. There is a scam in the de-notified land,’’ he alleged.

Mr Lourenco also said that for years the Dabolim  airport which  has the runway  of 4000 meters has catered to operations of both  domestic and international flights in Goa and considering future growth of passenger traffic, the ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) in consultation with Airport Authority of India (AAI) has sanctioned `500 crore for the expansion  plan  of the airport at Dabolim.

"Even the Prime Minister’s office is pushing for the expansion plan of Dabolim. The airport is expected to handle a minimum of 4.5 million passengers every year. This year Dabolim airport has handled 3.5 million passengers," he stated.

According to Mr Lourenco, the operation cost of Dabolim airport is `30 crore while the projected operational cost of Mopa airport is more than `1000 crore each year. He claimed that this will lead to increase in cost of air tickets.

Taking a dig at the vice president of Bharatiya Janata Party and NRI commissioner, Dr Wilfred Mesquita, Mr Lourenco challenged him to come out openly on the airport issue and make the party’s stand clear.  

Asked what his Congress party did in last five years vis-à-vis the Mopa airport, Mr Lourenco admitted that his party did make a mistake and therefore had to pay by losing the state assembly election, but hastened to add that the party respects people’s sentiments.