Goa CM assures steps to restart airport project

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Panaji, April 2 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said here on Tuesday “all necessary steps” would be taken as directed by the Supreme Court to restart work on the Mopa International Airport in North Goa.

On a local NGO’s plea, the SC Division Bench, comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta, on Friday stopped construction at the greenfield airport and temporarily suspended environment clearance granted in October 2015.

The court also directed an expert appraisal committee to assess the airport’s impact on ecology and submit the report in a month.

Justice Chandrachud also barred all courts in the country from entertaining any plea related to the airport.

At a meeting at the secretariat here on Tuesday, Goa Aviation Department Director Suresh Shanbhogue informed the Chief Minister the temporary suspension of environment clearance might delay the project, especially looking at the monsoon, said a government spokesperson.

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The Chief Minister said he would call a review meeting to discuss the matter and assured to personally review on a regular basis the case, the spokesperson said.

The meeting was also attended by Environment Secretary Govind Jaiswal, GMR Goa International Airport Limited CEO R.V. Sheshan.

Located at the Mopa plateau in the Pernem sub district, the airport is being built in four phases with an annual passenger capacity of 4.4 million in phase I, 5.8 million in phase II, 9.4 million in phase III and 13.1 million in phase IV. On completion, the airport will have the 30 million passengers per annum capacity.

As per a concession agreement between state and GMR Goa International Airport Limited, the airport will be developed as a passenger as well as a cargo hub.

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–IANS

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