Goa CM welcomes apex court ruling on Mopa airport project

Panaji, Jan 16 (PTI) Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court ruling that paves the way for construction of an international airport at Mopa in the coastal state, saying it will boost growth.

The SC on Thursday cleared the path for construction of an international airport at Mopa in North district by lifting the suspension on environmental clearance (EC) granted to the project spread over 2,131 acres.

The top court in March last year had suspended the EC granted for the greenfield airport and had directed the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) to revisit the decision in light of its impact on the ecology.

Reacting to the SC judgement, Sawant said the ruling has come as a great relief for Goa as it will open new avenues for the state and propel its economic growth.

The Chief Minister said the state government is committed towards sustainable development that prioritises its people and environment.

Last year, the SC had ordered the Goa government and GMR Goa International Airport Ltd to maintain status quo on the under-construction airport due to environmental impact.

As per the concession agreement with GMR Airports, the airport was to be commissioned by September 2020.

The apex court had ruled in favour of two petitions filed by Goa-based activists Hanumant Aroskar and Federation of Rainbow Warriors, who had challenged the environmental clearance given by the National Green Tribunal, Pune.

Separately, the tribunal also rejected applications by the two petitioners in August 2018.

The petitioners sought a stay from the SC over the illegal felling of 55,000 trees at Mopa, arguing that the environment impact assessment (EIA) report by the environment tribunal only mentioned about presence of bushes at the airport site. PTI RPS AP RSY RSY