PANAJI: Following the reports that over 5,000 people would crowd at the February 1 public hearing on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) study report for the proposed International Greenfield Airport coming up at Mopa in Pernem taluka, the government has decided to beef up police presence at the particular site, to maintain law and order situation.
The public hearing exercise will be conducted by North Goa Collector Nila Mohanan at the site of the proposed airport. Earlier, the government had estimated a crowd of 3,000 people for the public hearing.
Chief Secretary Kewal Sharma recently convened a meeting to review the ongoing preparations for the event where reports revealing the possible large crowds at the public hearing were presented. The reports point out at large turnout of people from South Goa district, especially from Salcete and Mormugao talukas, which could itself touch the 3,000 mark.
The government has directed construction of a larger pandal for the public hearing in view of the large presence of people. The preparations also include provision of drinking water, mobile toilets and power generators, besides ambulance service as well as fire brigade, in case of any emergency. The government has, however, decided to restrict the snacks to tetra pack juice and biscuits, and skip provision of full-fledged lunch. A thought is also given as to allow desired people to set up food stalls at the venue of the public hearing.
Meanwhile, Engineers India Ltd, a government of India undertaking, which has carried out the EIA study report for the airport made a presentation before the Chief Secretary, just as it would be done during the public hearing.
The government has also kept replies ready for the possible queries, which could be raised during the public hearing. Such queries include alternate grazing land for local cattle, impact of the airport on the 16 water springs in the vicinity and so on.
It may be recalled that the state has acquired 74 lakh sq mts of land for the proposed airport. The airport will be built on a public-private partnership mode and will be given on a long-term concession, which is expected to be not less than 30 years. The airport is likely to be commissioned by 2017/18.
Incidentally, the Goans For Dabolim Only (GFDO) organisation has sought postponement of the public hearing, questioning the EIA study report and pointing out at glaring flaws in the same.