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Mopa airport study committee seeks extension

Written by: Staff
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Panaji, Apr 24 (UNI) The six-member committee, appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to study all aspects of the proposed international airport at Mopa in North Goa, has sought a six-month extension and has also asked for including technical experts in the panel for completing its task.

The committee, headed by Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane, met here today. Chief Secretary J P Singh, who is a member of the committee, told reporters after the meeting that the three-month term of the panel was scheduled to expire on April 26 and hence the extension has been sought.

The committee has also sought inclusion of civil aviation experts, both national and international, to assist the committee on technical aspects.

It has also urged the Centre to direct the Civil Aviation and Defence ministries to pursue expansion of the existing Dhabolim airport.

The committee was constituted to suggest on the feasibility of the proposed Mopa airport and also advise on the continuation or otherwise of the existing Dhabolim airport which is under the control of the Indian Navy.

The committee today recorded the observations of its members -- MPs Churchil Alemao (Congress) from South Goa and Shripad Naik (BJP) from North Goa who spoke against and in favour of Mopa airport respectively. One of the members, Rajya Sabha member Shantaram Naik (Congress), was absent at today's meeting.

The committee will have its sitting only after an extension. It was constituted under the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The Congress has been divided on the issue of the Mopa airport with one group against it and the other for it. The Opposition parties in Goa as also the coalition partners in the Pratapsinh Rane government are in favour of both the airports to boost tourism.

Mr Churchil Alemao is a strong opponent of the Mopa airport and has conducted street meetings to build up the opposition saying that a Mopa airport will ruin the South Goan economy. The BJP, on the other hand, proposes to organise rallies and public meetings to build up support for the airport saying it is needed to meet the future demands of Goa and also ease congestion at the Mumbai airport.

UNI BM MAZ RL HT2227

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