Vijai asks Mauvin to quit over Dabolim 'failure'

Vijai asks Mauvin to quit over Dabolim 'failure'

Goa Forward Chief Vijai Sardesai speaks on the Dabolim airport issue.

Photo Credits: Santosh Mirajkar

Calling for the resignation of Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho due to his perceived failure in safeguarding Dabolim airport, Goa Forward Chief Vijai Sardesai urged Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to clarify the future of Dabolim, especially with the airport experiencing a 15 per cent decline in flights last year.

Sardesai labelled the Transport Minister's statement regarding GMR pressurizing the government to close Dabolim in favour of Mopa as shocking, asserting that it vindicates the opposition's stance.

Addressing the media, the Goa Forward Chief said Godinho should immediately resign over his statement that GMR, which operates the Mopa airport, is turning on the pressure to divert flights from Dabolim to Mopa.

“Godhino is stating emphatically that he is helpless and incapable to save Goa International Airport which is in his own constituency, Dabolim, from closing down. He must resign forthwith and apologise to the people of Dabolim and Goa for his inability to fearlessly oppose these moves in the cabinet, and has instead decided to toe the line in silence. As minister and MLA, he has failed to uphold the wishes and aspirations of Goemkars, impaired the future of Goa tourism, and sabotaged the economic interests of Goa,” he said.

Attributing the reduction in flights to Dabolim to the hike in user charges levied by the Civil Aviation ministry, Sardesai said one cannot expect airlines to continue to operate from Dabolim when the user charges are higher than Mopa.

“It is the duty of the double engine government to immediately intervene. The Chief Minister must break his silence. He should come clear on the issue before it is too late,” he said.

Saying that the diversion of flights to Mopa would not only spell doom for Dabolim but for Goa’s tourism industry, Sardesai feared that Goa’s economy would be hit if Dabolim is closed down in the future. Sardesai expressed apprehensions based on GMR's past actions in Hyderabad, where he said it forced the closure of an airport and called for assurances from the Chief Minister to prevent similar consequences in Goa.

Will take up the issue with Centre: Sardinha

South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha has said that the Government of India should intervene and find out why airlines prefer to operate from Mopa when Dabolim has been upgraded with a host of amenities.

Commenting on the announcement by Qatar Airlines to shift operations to Mopa from June, Sardinnha sought to reassure the people that Dabolim will never be closed down.

“If some airlines are shifting to Mopa because of the timings, I have no problem. But, I want to make clear that the government has spent over Rs 250 crore for the upgradation of Dabolim airport with eight aero bridges. I will take up the matter with the centre,” he said.

Saying he can understand that if airlines shift their operations to Mopa to save time and money, Sardinha said they have no right to go to Mopa for any other reason when the government has spent over Rs 250 crore on Dabolim upgradation.

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