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Govt: Mopa EIA report put up for public hearing


28th November, 2014, Deccan Hearld, Panjim

PANJIM: The government, in its reply to the queries raised by bidders for the Mopa Greenfield Airport Project, said that the Dabolim airport capacity would saturate within five years if it maintains its present growth and there was limited scope for further expansion due to non availability of land. 

 It also said that the EIA report has been put up for public hearing and it expects to receive Environmental Clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forests by March 2015.

The bidders had also raised apprehension saying that as the developer of the airport is the key risk taker and investor in this project while normally world class operators are merely consultants helping airport owners in operating the airport and not investing in the project, so the investment clause could prevent the applicant from engaging in good airport consultants in the project as they would be hesitant to invest in this project.

The probable bidders also brought up the politics surrounding the Mopa airport, calling it quite unstable, saying that foreign participants do not have the expertise for this. “Hence to attract a foreign professional airport operator, the investment requirement needs to be waived,” and “Such arrangements will nullify the concerns of the Government on providing high quality services at Mopa Airport.”

The new integrated domestic and international terminal at Dabolim with enhanced capacity would handle a maximum of 6.5 to 7 million passengers per annum (at present it handles 4 million passenger movements). “And if the current airport maintains its growth rate of 15% per annum it could saturate within five years,” says the government reply, adding that air traffic allocation will not be prescribed by the Government of Goa and the concessionaire is expected to market the airport in order to attract traffic from domestic as well as international airline operators. 

“Subject to capacity expansion requirements which will be spelt out during the RFP process, the Government will place no restriction on the quantum of traffic at Mopa Airport,” it gave an assurance to the bidders.

This was in reply to the query by bidders asking the government to confirm the mechanism proposed to be adopted for traffic split between the two airports (Dabolim and Mopa) calling it crucial for the viability of the project.

The government has also amended its original clause, reducing commercial built-up area, saying that development of a commercial real estate project at a single site with a minimum built-up area of not less than 1,00,000 square meters; and/or development of a commercial-cum-residential real estate project or development of a residential real estate project at a single site with a minimum built-up area of not less than 2,00,000 square metre.

The government has also said that it was not aware of any plans for the Navy which would relax airspace restrictions at Dabolim Airport and considers it an unlikely event. 

However, the government has made its stand clear on Dabolim saying, “As stated in the RFQ, Dabolim will remain open for commercial civil operations even after Mopa is made operational.”