Work on new Goa airport to resume after SC go-ahead

Supreme Court.

Panaji,  The Supreme Court on Thursday lifted suspension of the environment clearance to the Mopa international airport, around 25 km from here, in North Goa, allowing resumption of construction.

“The Supreme Court has lifted suspension on the environmental clearance. There have been no additional conditions. The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute has been appointed to ensure that the conditions by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Union Environment and Forests Ministry and others are adhered to,” Director of Goa Civil Aviation Department Suresh Shanbogue told reporters here.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Goa-based environmentalists who had questioned the felling of several thousand trees for the airport at the Mopa plateau.

A year ago, the apex court had asked promoters of the airport, a joint venture between GMR and the Goa government, to maintain status quo vis-a-vis construction of airport due to environment concerns listed in the petition.

“Work will recommence immediately. It may take some time to get the speed because we have to move our machinery there again. When the work was stopped, there were around 2,000 people on the site. Within three weeks the work will gather speed,” Shanbogue said.

Reacting to the development, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said the SC verdict was a great relief for the state. “Mopa airport will open new avenues for Goa and propel the state’s economic growth. The government is committed to sustainable development that prioritises people and environment,” Sawant said.

In its first phase, the airport is expected to cater to 4.5 million passengers. At the end of fourth phase, the capacity is expected to be 13 million.