Outlining aviation and tertiary sectors as thrust areas, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said a new international airport at Mopa in North Goa will be ready in next three years and the government will invite global bids to construct the facility by October.
“The Mopa airport may come up in three years. We may also float a global tender probably around September-October,” he told a high-level meeting of corporates organised by the industry lobby CII here over the weekend.
The technocrat Chief Minister from the Bharatiya Janata Party, who took over the reins earlier this year, was earlier quoted as saying that the investment required for the new airport will be around Rs 3,800 crore, with phase-I requiring Rs 2,500 crore.During his interaction with industrialists here, Parrikar stressed that aviation is a key focus area for his the tourism-driven state economy. “I want to develop Goa as a hub for both cargo as well as passenger terminal,” he said. However, he conceded that there are limitations with the present air infrastructure at Dabolim airport, where joint usage in coordination with the defence establishment creates problems for the civilian use.
Parrikar said the proposed Mopa airport, for which up to 90 percent of land acquisition is complete, will increase the passenger carrying capacity by up to six times from the existing facilities at Dabolim. Addressing an audience consisting of industrialists from diverse sectors like realty, power, corporate finance and hospitality among others, he said his government will be interested in teaming up with a private player if some proposals come along around education in the aviation sector and setting up cargo facilities.
There is a vast catchment area around Goa, in pockets like Belgaum, Hubli, Kolhapur and Ratnagiri, which produces horticulture products that can be exported from the proposed international airport, he said. “If Goa is developed as a cargo hub, the airport can be made economically viable much faster than an all-passenger facility because that is where the money lies,” he stressed.
Moreover, the government will also be interested in tying up with potential partners who offer education around aviation, in the hospitality and engineering side, he said.Moving parallel with the airport development, his government will also be inviting bids from airline companies interested in having a substantial presence in the state and would also offer some tax sops to such companies.
The government will bring down the 12 percent value added tax on aviation charged to 4 percent for such companies, he said. In many other states, it varies from 4 to 32 percent. “Our idea is that any airline and industry which is ready to work out an agreement with Goa, will get it for 4 percent. We may be floating expression of interest to various airlines. Currently, we may be kept down by the airport’s limitation, but the moment Mopa goes to the tendering stage, this idea may be mooted so that we may link it with Mopa,” he said.