Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Mopa Airport ‘ Frozen’ Land For Whom? – by Wesley Edward Pereira
Saturday - Mar 18, 2017
I refer to my letter “Demarcate village roads!” that had appeared in the form of an article titled “Call for demarcation of village roads” on the business estates page ( refer page 3) of the Herald dated August 27, 2012. Let me link this write- up to events that took place in Goa during the three months prior to the date of the letter and possible events that could take place during the next few months.
 
In the year 2012, the hypothetical draft Master Plan of Mopa Airport and the hypothetical Goa Vision Document- 2035 were prepared without defining the Goa Metropolitan Region in terms of human population and land- use plans showing transportation connectivity.
 
Now five years later, serious attempts are being made to designate the Mopa Airport Build Operate Transfer ( BOT) Contractor as a Special Planning Authority to approve and implement unsustainable development projects on the massive acquired frozen land of Mopa Airport plus in an additional area in the vicinity of the Airport acquired land ( under special investment region?).
 
Unless long- term transportation layout master plans of the above referred areas are finalised, the transportation connectivity of the phase- 1 Mopa Airport master plan including the fully access- controlled expressway and connectivity highways remain hypothetical. Also, there are no site clearances and approvals for Mopa Airport project layout plans.
 
The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed by the Mopa Airport BOT Contractor is not an independent institutional Authority to perform the role of Special Planning Authority to consider various permissions and approvals required by the Mopa Airport BOT Contractor and sub- contractors for land development and project utilities/ services in the massive acquired frozen land of Mopa Airport and the additional surrounding area in Goa and Maharashtra. This region is located in the eco- sensitive Western Ghats.
 
Is the Goa Highways ( Amendment) Bill, 2012 appearing in official gazette, Series I No. 19 ( pages 1058 to 1060) dated 9th August 2012 an attempt to define unsustainable urban development concepts for transfer of land to contractors / subcontractors ( by lease or otherwise) for converting the narrow roads of tiny beautiful villages in the entire State of Goa into massive highways? Can we allow such development concepts by destroying traditional socio- cultural & livelihood activities of local communities?

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