Negligible impact of COVID second wave; commissioning in August next year
Panaji: The ongoing second wave of the corona pandemic, unlike the first wave, has resulted in a little impact on the work of the Mopa International Greenfield Airport, with the commissioning of the first phase of this mega project expected to take place by August 15, 2022 as per the schedule.
Director of civil aviation Suresh Shanbhogue told ‘The Navhind Times’ on Wednesday that at the time of the lockdown, during the first wave of the pandemic, the airport site was closed and work stopped for 28 days, with many labourers having left the state to return to their native places.
“Now during the second wave, even though some of the people involved in the project got infected by the virus, as also few of the labourers left, the work was not stalled and continued although its speed may have decreased a bit,” he added, pointing out that at this point of time, more than 30 per cent of the work related to the first phase of the airport is complete.
The construction work of runway, taxiway, passenger terminal building, ATC tower, technical building, administrative building, compound wall and so on is in full swing.
Speaking further, Shanbhogue said that all efforts are being made to cover the slowing down of the work during past few months. “I am sure that we will make up for the lost time, during the monsoons, especially by completing the internal works very fast,” he noted.
The director of civil aviation also said that other ancillary works like providing water supply system for Mopa airport area and approach roads are also taken up. “The water connection has been given long time back, while the road acquisition for the Expressway being connected to National Highway-66 is complete and the detailed project report (DPR) for the same has been submitted to the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways,” he informed, mentioning that the existing road is already widened to two lanes.
It was also informed that the runway for the first phase of the airport is nearing completion.
Shanbhogue further told this daily that the first phase of the Mopa airport would have to be made ready by April 2022, so that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) gets enough time for carrying out its inspection and testing.
“This exercise takes three to four months, including landing and taking off of the test flights,” he informed, pointing out that with everything following the schedule, the first phase of the Mopa airport would be commissioned by August 2022.
Meanwhile, the Aviation Skill Development Centre is getting ready at the airport. It will start functioning during the last quarter of this year, to train over 1,500 unemployed youth so as to make them employable for various types of jobs at the airport as it becomes operational in 2022.
Incidentally, the central government has decided to dedicate this project to the nation by August 15, 2022, in commemoration of India’s 75th year of Independence.
The country would get a new greenfield airport in the form of Mopa airport, after a long time.