Goa’s airport project opposed over land grab accusations

Panaji: Trinamool Congress Friday vowed to oppose the proposed greenfield airport in North Goa claiming land for the project has been forcibly acquired from farmers.
“The airport is a major (election) issue (in Goa). Irrespective of the results (of polls), airport is going to be a major issue for the party,” Trinamool Congress national spokesman Derek O’Brien said at a press conference here.
The Mamata Banerjee-led party is completely opposed to eviction of farmers from their lands anywhere in the country, the Rajya Sabha MP said.
O’Brien termed the plan to have a new airport in North Goa as “absurd and bizarre”. “Its an absurd and bizarre concept to have an airport in Mopa (a North Goa village). This will mess up things in South Goa,” he said.
Having an airport in North Goa would turn South Goa into a “ghost town”, O’Brien said.
He said the party’s Lok Sabha candidate from South Goa constituency Churchill Alemao, a veteran figure in Goa politics, has been opposing the airport project right from the beginning.
“We are opposing the airport because we are of the opinion that land for it should not be forcibly acquired from farmers,” O’Brien said.
Goa’s current airport at Dabolim in South Goa is housed inside a Naval base. O’Brien said shifting the airport would affect tourism in South Goa.
Addressing the conference, Alemao said the project site is close to the Goa-Maharashtra border and an airport there will benefit the adjoining State more than Goa.