Airport, mining, investment board: A wish-list for new Goa CM

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Panaji, Nov 12: With new Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar at the helm, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Goa has drawn up a virtual to-do list for the new appointee who succeeded Manohar Parrikar after he became the defence minister on Sunday.

From resumption of mining to ensuring speedy realisation of Goa's second international airport, to attracting the promised Rs.25,000 crore investment to Goa and to stamping out corruption, Kirit Maganlal, the chairman of CII in Goa, told IANS that much needs to be done and time was not exactly a luxury for Parsekar, who has less than two and a half years before his government's term ends.

"A great challenge would be to continue with the zero tolerance campaigns that were initiated by the earlier government in the interest of public good," Maganlal told IANS.

After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was elected to power at the Centre in March 2012, the government had promised a zero tolerance to corruption policy amid a lot of hype.

But the opposition and civil society have repeatedly questioned how a minister booked for cheating and forgery on the directions of a trial court could continue in the cabinet, despite the stated policy against corruption.

Maganlal also said that Parsekar should press the accelerator pedal to get Goa's second international airport project, which has seen inordinate delays, off the ground.

"The proceedings that have been initiated after release of the RFQ (Request for Qualification) for the Mopa airport have to be vigorously followed as per the schedules laid down. The initiative for utilizing the old Dabolim airport for the purpose of setting up of hub operations for low cost carrier airlines that has been proposed has to be brought to its logical conclusion," Maganlal said.

Goa is currently serviced by one airport, operated by the Indian Navy at Dabolim, 35 km south of Panaji, and the new airport project has been mired in conspiracy ranging from chaotic land acquisition, allegations of a real estate speculation scam and violation of environment norms.

Maganlal also said that Parsekar should ensure setting up of an Investment Promotion Board on top priority.

"Only this will ensure the targeted investment of Rs.25,000 crore over the next five years," Maganlal said, referring to the policy drawn up by the state government which aims to attract investment to Goa.

On mining, Maganlal said that formalities need to be completed to restart mining - which had been banned by three agencies, the state government, the central government and eventually by the Supreme court since 2012.

"Completion of the procedures for renewal of mining leases and ensuring that regulated mining operations start at the earliest is also of grave importance to the state, people dependent on mining and to the state's economy," Maganlal told IANS.

He also said that since Goa was a small state with precious land resources, Parsekar should try to resolve the deadlock with Special Economic Zone promoters, who had been allotted hundreds of thousands of square metres of land for setting up SEZ, before the government scrapped the SEZ policy in 2007.

"The government should also look into releasing the land bank which is currently under the SEZ litigation and find an acceptable solution for the benefit of all concerned," he said.

IANS

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