Panaji, Feb 1: The local Church has joined the chorus of those opposing heli-tourism in Goa, which is scheduled to begin tomorrow, citing that it will harm the bio-diversity of Aguada plateau and also affect the business there.
"I have enlightened people during my services (religious mass) yesterday in the Church that we should oppose it. I have appealed the people to object to it," said Fr Rodany Rebello, parish priest, Sinquerim Church.
Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) and Pawan Hans company have joined hands to commence heli-tourism in the state.
The first phase will include flight between Panaji to Aguada helipad, located on a plateau across Mandovi River. GTDC had announced that the commercial operations will begin from February 2. Fr Rebello said the locals are not getting any benefit from this project.
"On the other hand it will disturb the business, already settled in that area," the priest said addressing reporters alongwith Congress spokesman Agnelo Fernandes today.
Fr Rebello said the Aguada plateau has rich bio diversity and home for several birds and peacocks besides other animals. We cannot let this bio-diversity get affected for the sake of tourism, he commented.
The priest claimed his counterparts (other priests) from Calangute and Candolim Churches have also extended their support for the group which is opposing heli-tourism at Aguada plateau.
The official launch of heli-tourism was scheduled to be held on January 31 but was cancelled later. The GTDC officials had claimed that the launch was not held because Union Tourism minister Mahesh Sharma was pre-occupied with some other engagements.
Meanwhile, the Congress party has petitioned State Chief Secretary R K Srivastava against the heli-tourism listing out the objections for the project. "We will also start a signature campaign against the project," Congress spokesman Agnelo Fernandes said.
Significantly, BJP MLA Michael Lobo has joined hands with Ferandnes to launch agitation against his own governments (BJP) project.