Salcete gram sabhas’ resounding no to Mopa and up-gradation of Dabolim on par with international standards may force MLAs from the taluka supporting the Parrikar dispensation to once again take up the airport row with Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
A day after gram sabha after gram sabha around Salcete’s countryside voted against the Mopa airport, the ruling MLAs says that they are also opposed to the new airport and will take up the matter with the Chief Minister at the earliest.
While Goa Vikas Party supremo Mickky Pacheco said the gram sabha resolutions are an eye opener to the rulers not to take the people for granted, Fisheries Minister, Avertano Furtado said he is also opposed to the construction of a new airport at airport.
“As I have maintained earlier, Goa cannot have two airports. I am happy that around 85 per cent of the people have opposed Mopa airport. The rulers should now stop fooling and misguiding the people of Goa,” Mickky said.
He disclosed plans to take up the issue with the CM and raise the matter in the forthcoming session of the Legislative Assembly. “It is very clear both Mopa and Dabolim will not be feasible. The government should upgrade Dabolim on par with international standard,” he demanded.
The Fisheries Minister, on the other hand, said MLAs from Salcete supporting the government are firmly opposed to the new airport at Mopa. “If the need arises, I along with MLAs Caitu Silva and Benjamin D’Silva would convene a public meeting to tell the people of Salcete their stand on the Mopa airport,” Avertano said.
Replying to a question, Avertano said he along with other MLAs supporting the government would call on the CM and convey the sentiments of the people against the Mopa airport.
Incidentally, Benaulim MLA Caitu Silva, who was present for the Benaulim gram sabha when the members adopted a resolution opposing Mopa, later told newsmen that he will stand by the people of South Goa on the airport issue. “I am there with the people of South Goa. I am totally in favour of the upgradation of the Dabolim airport,” he said.
When asked to categorically state whether he is opposed to Mopa, Caitu said, “We will question the government when we have something concrete in hand. MLAs from S Goa supporting the government will do their part. We are there with the people of South Goa,” he asserted, adding “Unlike others, we do not want to make a show through the media. We are not looking at votes, but we are looking at benefit of the people.”
Velim MLA Benjamin Silva was not available for comment. However, the village gram sabhas in Velim constituency have unanimously opposed the new airport and supported the upgradation of Dabolim as Goa’s lone airport.
Of the eight MLAs in Salcete taluka, Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai and his counterparts in Nuvem and Curtorim Mickky and Reginaldo Lourenco have openly opposed Mopa airport. [H]