Goa Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai on Wednesday warned his own government of backlash if a circular about obtaining the Navy's NOC for new construction near the airport was not withdrawn. The South Goa district administration issued a circular last year making it mandatory to seek the Navy's No Objection Certificate for any new construction within a 20-km radius of the Goa Airport. The lone airport in the coastal state is part of INS Hansa, a naval base.
Speaking in Margao town, the minister pointed out that the collector who issued the circular has been transferred. "I am cautioning the government. A new district collector has been appointed. Within seven days he should give clarification on the order of his predecessor," said Sardesai, leader of the Goa Forward Party, a BJP ally. "If the circular is not withdrawn, the government should be ready to face a backlash from the people," he said. The issue was recently discussed at a meeting of the Town and Country Planning Board.
Sardesai said he had no objection to the creation of a funnel zone, an aerial path used by aircraft while landing, around the airport. The minister said he took up the issue despite being part of the government because the opposition party, which should have raised it, was dormant.
The minister, who was speaking on the occasion of the Opinion Poll Day, also said the day was not celebrated with enough grandeur considering its significance. The day marks an opinion poll in 1967 when people of Goa rejected a proposal to merge with Maharashtra. "If we had merged with Maharashtra, we would have become one of the districts of that state," he said. Goa has developed and prospered so much since then that if a new poll was conducted, people of Maharashtra would opt for a merger with Goa, he said.
(With inputs from agencies.)