State Government’s Anti People Attitude And Total Disregard Of The Democratic Rights Of Goans – by Diana Pinto
GFDO said that the commencement of work by GMR on the contentious Mopa Airport project is yet another instance of the State Government’s anti people attitude and total disregard of the democratic rights of Goans. The local BJP MLA Babu Azgaonkar himself has admitted that his government has not meted justice to many land owners, who are still struggling either to get the money or their land back. Hence, without completing the due processes, the Government needs to explain to the people of Goa how it has handed over land that does not yet belong to the state, to a private party.
In any case, it is abundantly clear that the entire Mopa project is being built upon a foundation of total and unprecedented contempt for democratic rights, its due processes and the very democratic system itself. The Parrikar government is well aware that there are two ongoing cases in the NGT against the Mopa Airport project, and one case in the Supreme Court. The spirit of democracy and public responsibility would demand that the Mopa Airport processes be halted until completion of the judicial processes, or else in the event of a Court granted Stay, it will be Goan taxpayers who will have to bear the cost of payments to the developer. Why is the BJP State government playing fast and loose with Goan taxpayers’ hard earned money?
The AAI, which was an unsuccessful bidder for the Mopa Airport project has now been elevated to the status of Project Authority of International Airport (Mopa) Project. The Government needs to explain to the people of Goa, in which accepted system does the unsuccessful applicant or bidder become the Project Authority? What is the criteria followed by the authorities for such a step especially in relation to the complexity and magnitude of the project. But of course, it is clear that when the system is unprofessional, based on total ‘ad-hocism’, then anything that happens should cause no surprise. And this has been the characteristic of the BJP government ever since 2012, where the people’s concerns and doubts apparently, do not merit any responses.
Recently the ED has attached the properties of two Goan politicians in connection with the alleged Louis Berger scam. How can the Government go ahead with such a huge and complex Airport project, based on the dubious validity of documents prepared by an allegedly internationally scam tainted Company? After all, the Mopa Airport project will have irrevocable repercussions on Goans, the Goan economy and environment.
In addition, since the Government has now decided that there will be two international airports in tiny Goa, i.e. Dabolim as well as Mopa, the entire basis of the feasibility reports are now questionable. Hence GFDO requests the State government to please make public the facts and figures of distribution of passenger and cargo traffic between the two airports, that will be catering to Goan needs and not that of gigantic and huge neighbouring states which have plenty of their own resources to fulfil their own aspirations, as compared to Goa, the tiniest state in India.
GFDO said that despite the CM’s and the Governor’s assurance that this government will work to preserve “Goenkarponn”, it is clear that the Mopa Airport is a project that is catering to “Maharashtraponn” and “GMRponn” using the State’s scarce resources and at the cost of the Goan economy and its tourism industry.
In fact, there are strong and worrying indications that ironically, tiny Goa is being cold bloodedly abused as a logistics SEZ for the rest of the country. While Maharashtra’s tourism industry will use Mopa as a logistics hub, the Goan port of MPT and the roads and rivers of Goa are being indiscriminately used as a coal hub, despite the high level threat to the health and livelihood of the people and the callous inability of the authorities to contain even the present pollution, just to further the interests of favoured private parties like Adani and JSW. While admittedly this has been the consistent modus operandi of the BJP government since 2012, the people of Goa would like to know from the alliance partners, particularly Goa Forward Party, which was a vociferous opponent of the Mopa Airport project, what it intends to do about this contradiction in its stated principles and stands, based upon which it was voted in by the electorate.