Goa Airport: Chipi takes the wind out of Mopa project

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The Goa government’s plan to have second airport at Mopa in North Goa may take a hit as Maharashtra has decided to go ahead with an airport at Chipi in Sindhudurg. As per civil aviation ministry directions, there can be no two greenfield airports within a radius of 150 km. Nirmalkumar Deshmukh, joint chief officer of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, which cleared the Chipi site, said, “The civil aviation ministry’s policies do not allow greenfield airports within a radius of 150 km of existing airports.

After the construction of the Chipi airport, the Goa government will not be able to construct an airport at Mopa since it is within the 150 km radius.” The Chipi site is 80 km from Mopa, 110 km from Panaji and 142 km from Goa’s existing airport at Dabolim. When contacted, Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat said he was unaware of the issue. For Goa, going ahead with the airport at Mopa will now be difficult and the state may have to rely totally on the Dabolim airport.

Civil aviation ministry sources said they are strict about not allowing a greenfield airport within a 150 km radius of an existing airport. A new airport was not allowed at Amravati as it would be within a radius of 150 km from Nagpur airport. The authorities are now extending the existing airport as it is President Pratibha Patil’s hometown. The civil aviation ministry has made only two exceptions — for the Navi Mumbai international airport and an airport near Noida in UP, sources said.

Maharashtra feels that an airport in Sindhudurg will boost tourism in the area and will also cater to North Goa areas closer to Maharashtra. Despite the slump in the market MIDC, which has cleared the airport on a build, operate and own basis, has received a good response. “The MIDC called for a RFQ (request for qualification) two months back and more than 15 companies including GVK, GMR, HCC bought the document. We have shortlisted some companies and the contractor will be chosen soon,” Deshmukh said.


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