Congress criticises navy for delaying Goa airport expansion

Panaji, Nov 20 ( The Congress Friday criticised the Indian Navy for its delay in parting with 2.5 acres of land sought by government agencies for the expansion of Goa’s only airport at Dabolim.

Mauvin Godinho, Congress legislator and deputy speaker of the Goa assembly, told Inditop that that the Congress Legislative Party had asked Chief Minister Digambar Kamat to take up the matter with the party’s central leadership.

The Congress Legislative Party held a meet at the chief minister’s residence here and expressed its unhappiness with the attitude of the Indian Navy.

“The members were disappointed with the Indian Navy’s failure to hand over the land for the Dabolim airport expansion. We have asked the chief minister to take up the matter with the central leadership,” Godinho said.

He added that Kamat assured the Congress Legislative Party that the issue would be taken up with Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

The Dabolim airport is predominantly a naval facility used for civil aviation purposes and the Indian Navy has been the target of several state Congress leaders who have accused the defence force of undermining the interest of Goa.

Goa’s lone Rajya Sabha MP and Congressman Shantaram Naik had Wednesday accused the navy of being land-hoggers, and said that the “negative” and “big boss” attitude of the force was the main reason for the delay in airport expansion.

“They are making us beg for a few acres of land for expansion,” Naik had said. “These hurdles are being created despite a direct assurance by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has sanctioned a substantial amount for the expansion of the Dabolim airport,” he added.