Independent legislator from Fatorda, Mr Vijay Sardesai, on Saturday, said that the Mopa greenfield airport project is a conspiracy, jointly planned by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Goans, against Goans, even as he said that the fight against the project by "well meaning" Goans will continue if it is thrust at the cost of Dabolim airport.
Addressing a press conference here to announce the launch of Goemkar, an ‘apolitical’ social organisation of which he is the convenor, Mr Sardesai told reporters that the Mopa project would benefit Maharashtra’s Konkan region more than Goa and tourism industry in the state could suffer and that efforts are being made to "destroy" tourism sector in the state.
The Fatorda MLA said that the newly launched organisation would espouse the cause of Goans and Mopa has been chosen to be the first of various issues to be taken up for creation of awareness among Goans and fight for protection of the interest of Goan population.
He said that the other issues that would be taken up subsequently would be mining, agriculture, regional plan, khazan lands etc.
"We will fight for the cause of Goans, especially, those in the tourism sector and ensure that they get the benefit of employment," stated Mr Sardesai adding that the organisation would serve as a tough opposition to the government both in the assembly as well as outside it.
He said that the Congress leadership has gone underground and only a couple of its leaders are speaking against the government.
Attacking the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, for changing the stance he had taken as the opposition leader, the Fatorda legislator said that Mr Parrikar had said that the denotification of the land acquisition for parking facility at Dabolim airport was a "fraud" but has now allowed the process to lapse for reasons best known to him.
He said that the Dabolim airport expansion is being strangulated by not giving land for parking.
He said that the Mopa airport project should be put on the hold till a feasibility study as regards to simultaneous operation of Dabolim and the proposed Mopa airport is carried out and it is found that both can co-exist.
He also said that the report of the study should be transparently available for public.
The Fatorda MLA hit out at South Goa member of Parliament saying that though hailing from South he is favouring existence of two airports, which could lead to the closure of Dabolim airport in future, as has happened in Bangalore and Hyderabad.
He also said that the Mopa project is being promoted for the benefit of builder lobby.
Accusing the government of misleading the people of the state, especially of the Salcete, by showing them the "carrot" of special status, Mr Sardesai questioned the Chief Minister as to how he is seeking the special status when his party is opposed to the idea at the central level.
He further said that because of faulty decisions of the state government as regards to mining, right constituencies are suffering and the same can happen to the tourism sector if the state government goes ahead with its plans.
He also stated that people had voted for the change for better in the last election but nothing has changed.
He said that "Xastikars" are more "sussegad" than average Goans but have risen up when situation warranted and fought vehemently to protect their interests as well as that of Goans.
The MLA also said that a public meeting by the newly formed organisation would be held on January 15 at Lohia Maidan, on the eve of Opinion Poll day.
He called upon "self respecting" Goans to support Goemkar, as it espouses the cause of Goans, to protect their own interests, adding only those worthy of the support of the organisation would get its backing in the future elections.
Mr Sardesai went on to state that not everything is rosy in the present government and added that not all those who are supporting the government are happy.
He, however, said that his organisation, being apolitical, would not make attempts to overthrow the government. [NT]