Thursday 25 July 2024

News Analysed, Opinions Expressed


Airport Agonies


Salcettekars have in the past opposed Fishing Trawlers, Konkan Railway, widening of national highway etc. and ended up in embracing whatever they had initially opposed. It is now the turn of Mopa. And I bet the Salcettekars who are in large numbers in foreign lands as well as place like Mumbai, Delhi, Banglore and Calcutta will prefer to land at Mopa and be driven home along the proposed Super Express Way connecting North to South.

I am for Mopa. I am for Dabolim. I am also for Chippi. And I am also for Airports at Karwar, Hubli, Dharwad, Belgaum etc. This statement may surprise many. But I have my reasons.

Recent Census figures have many lessons for Goans. Lesson number One is that we allowed ourselves to grow like an oasis in an arid desert. We tom tommed our “uniqueness” - whatever that may be – of our culture, Language, dress, food habits, and eulogized our love for “siesta” and “Susegad”ness. We abhorred all sorts of hard work and manual labor and opted for greener pastures abroad. We invited the “bhaile” (outsiders) to come as tourists, Laborers and investors. “Go – Goa – Go” we told everyone across the globe. And they came; they bought our lands and our conscience as well. Census figures tell us that they are inching towards a majority and may soon overtake us. Out of the approximate 15 lakh inhabitants of Goa almost 40% comprise the “bhaile”. Centuries ago Timaji, a general of Vijaynagar Kings, had invited Portuguese to defeat the Adilshah. He ended up losing his Land as well as his faith. History perhaps is repeating itself. One Manuel Fernandes writing on Facebook   laments :-

“Go Goa Gone,

Sharant rigleat Donn,

Shindolki-Casino ontoskornan,

Goyant raunk lagona mon”

Roughly translated it reads:

“Go, Goa, Gone,

Cities are ruled by Dons,

Prostitution and Casinos have stabbed our hearts,

I wish I run away from this dirt as fast as I can”

Coastal Karnataka and Konkan Maharashtra are richly endowed by nature, perhaps in many more ways than Goa. They have, however, remained backward for lack of infrastructure and a media blitzcrieg beckoning visitors. Belgaum, Khanapur, and Halyal have long been ignored by Karnataka for fear that they may one day, have to be ceded to Maharashtra for linguistic reasons. The areas beyond Kolhapur – Hubli meridian are drought prone. Poverty in these areas is endemic. Beyond this meridian in the north and east lie the BIMARU states. Goa “the oasis” with such a poor hinterland is a virtual El Dourado both for the scoundrel and the saint, the job seeker and the entrepreneur.

Good infrastructure is the surest way of unleashing rapid development. Due to poor infrastructure, North Goa has by and large remained backward compared to coastal South Goa. Deep South and Eastern hilly parts are also under-developed. Dabolim Airport, Mormugao Port, Railway Junctions at Verna and Margao as well as one of Asia’s very large Industrial Estates is at Verna. Five and Seven stars hotels are a monopoly of the south. No wonder that South Goa has been heavily urbanized. Zopadpatties or shanty townships have sprung up in Verna, Sancoale, Moti Dongor, Margao, Naveli, Vasco and many other places in South Goa. Most of the bhaile rush to South Goa because of its job potential. Mega Housing projects today dot the landscape of South Goa. Many more are in various stages of construction and planning.

Almost 80% of the local and foreign tourists out of the total annual arrival of about 30 lakh tourists land up in South Goa. During the peak season South Goa is a babble of several Indian and foreign tongues. It is becoming increasingly difficult to spot a Goan in the maddening crowd.  Is it the wish of people from Salcette that all Goans and all non Goans and all tourists, pimps, scoundrels, gamblers and revelers should descend in their villages and change the face of their villages beyond recognition ? Identity of Salcettkars is already under serious threat. Do they want to compound this malaise?


Yes, Mopa may also help South Maharashtra. We should welcome this unintended by-product as it may thwart the influx of people to some extent. Mopa makes economic sense to North Goa as it will promote its development. It makes economic and social sense to South Goa as well as it may decelerate the rate of congestion of South Goa.

 A new clamor for “special status” has just begun. Raison D’être for this movement is the fear of Goans becoming a minority within Goa. It is advisable, therefore, to allow the growth of our neighbors. Mopa in North Goa will help it; Chippi in South Konkan Maharashtra will accelerate it. There are airstrips in Belgaum, Hubli and Dharwar. These should become full-fledged Airports. Karwar too should have an Airport in the course of time. And of course Dabolim must continue. Government of India is not a fool to spend a thousand Crores and more to convert Dabolim into an International Civil Airport. And just as civil aviation will have two airports in Goa, Navy too may use both Airports in future.

And a last thought for the Aviation aficionados. At the THINKfest held in Nov 2012 by the Tehelka Group at Hotel Grand Hyaat, Bamboli, a wonderful presentation of flying cars was made by the inventor and pioneer of this type of aircraft. Just as mobile phones descended upon us as an avalanche, flying cars too are going to be the simplest and cheapest modes of aviation and driving in the very near future. They will fly on air routes guided by satellites, lasers and internet.  Number of personal jets and helicopters is steadily going up.

It is better therefore, to provide two airports and a  few more airstrips  in places like Canacona and Dharbandora  in Goa and places like Karwar, Gokarn, Halyal, Khanapur, Gadhinglaj, Malwan etc. Salcettekars have in the past opposed Fishing Trawlers, Konkan Railway, widening of national highway etc. and ended up  in embracing whatever they had initially  opposed. It is now the turn of Mopa. And I bet the Salcettekars who are in large numbers in foreign lands as well as place like Mumbai, Delhi, Banglore and Calcutta will prefer to land at Mopa and be driven home along the proposed Super Express Way connecting North to South.

 Meanwhile let the Alemaos, Vijays, Alinas and their elk enjoy the glare and publicity brought by their agitation in their otherwise insipid political lives.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

Hi Ramakant Khalap JI

I wish to request you one thing. If Salcettekars are opposing for Mopas then why cant North Goan youth get down on Road under banner "FIGHT FOR ONLY MOPA". I request you sir that under your firm leadership , please get togather local people, hotel owners and specially youth and shall have meetings and dharnas demanding for MOPA. This has become tradition of few anti national people to oppose good things. During Konkan railway ,Alemao Brothers have done maximun opposed and in return secure maximun railway jobs for them.I am sure Mopa will benefit every common man from north Goa.

Lastly I wish to request Religious priest to stay away from politics. Do not involve religion in politics. Only Goa is state where in people really mixed and mingle with each other. They are many hindus having close friends who christian than that of hindus and vice versa. Let us preserved this envioment in Goa. Let us support Mr Manohar parrikar who is dedicatedly working for better development of Goa.

Rajendra G Barve |

The article above seems to have hit a hornets nest. there is a section of people in goa unsure about its paternity. this group is forever confused about its identity, who they are, who their ancestors were, what is their religion, what is their ethnicity. as a result whatever that is indian is opposed. it is this section which wears tshirts indian navy go back, put stickers of portuguese flags on their cars and shout viva portugal. unfortunately the present govt encourages such people.

jayesh nayak |

Amrut , Goa::: If you do not understand the difference between a State & a colony, I trust you will make inquiries elsewhere to increase you knowledge.

Further more, India was never ever a "Republic " before 1947, for it to lay a legitimate claim over Goa.

Goa was never ever an administrative part of India pre 1947 and for 450 years before that.

It was annexed .

Did India have Democratic Rights under British Rule.? And were you also not boot licking under them?.

Your knowledge & true meaning of of Slavery is questionable and your use of this word is purely to give your views some credibility .

Slavery was not practised in Goa nor India by either of its Colonial rulers for you kind info. Please refer to your History books..

India itself, is currently made up of different ethnicities & religions. So will you be prepared to give the Punjab(Khalistan) to the Sikhs & Kashmir to the Muslims?

N.Fernandes |

Goa was never a Colony of Portugal. It was a State (Estado) of Portugal for 450 years(not 700 years). There is a difference between a Colony & a State.

--What exactly is the difference between the Colony and State? You can even call it the capital of Portugal.

Did the Goans under Portuguese have democratic rights? Probably you enjoyed the slavery and boot-licking that came with the Portuguese rule.

Pakistan & Bangladesh too were a part of a "Greater India". How come they are no longer a part of India now ? Is India having difficulty bullying them and found it easier to over-run & annexe Goa?

-- You yourself might want to brush up your history. Pakistan and Bangladesh came into existence after independence based on religion and ethnicity.

Amrut |

Amrut , Goa:::: When a person cannot adequately support his views, or better elaborate one, he usually tends to question the Nationality & motives of another.

There is no question at present , of the Legality of India over Goa.

However, Goa & Goans were never given their Right to self-determination. A plebiscite was promised but never delivered.

Goa was never a Colony of Portugal. It was a State (Estado) of Portugal for 450 years(not 700 years). There is a difference between a Colony & a State.

You might want to brush up on some of your history and some historical facts.

Pakistan & Bangladesh too were a part of a "Greater India". How come they are no longer a part of India now ? Is India having difficulty bullying them and found it easier to over-run & annexe Goa?

There are rumoured to be Documents to prove that Goa Airport was always a civilian airport , until the Navy decided to occupy it permanently.

Goa is not at war with India & neither is a threat. So there is no purpose of the Navy still occupying it out of fear.

I do not see why the Navy cannot release Dabolim back to its original civilian use and move over to the purpose-built ,state of the art ,21st Century Naval base in Karwar...just a few kilometres down the road?

Perhaps you could exercise your acute wisdom in explaining this.Is there something wrong with Karwar.? And was Tax-payers money wasted in building this base.?

Theoretically, Goa, being seen & sold, as a Tourist destination has no truly civilian airport.

Major Tourist spots & Countries around the world, do not fly their Tourists into Naval Bases.

The proposed airport at Mopa, is far away from most of the major towns, population centres and attractions in Goa.

Its remoteness is a drawback & not cost effective for at least 75% of the Goan population.

It has been speculated that the cost of travel to Mopa from Central & Southern towns will be about Rs 2000- 3000.

Goan Taxi owners are not known to be honest,so double that up. They have become legendary for ripping/fleecing everyone.

This is another cause of disenchantment.

Hope some of the info here will assist you.

N.Fernandes |

N.Fernandes, London

--What Goans are upset about is the illegal occupation or enforced OCCUPATION of the (only) airport in Goa.

If the Indian Navy came to Liberate Goa, why are they holding on to the war Booty?

The above is the problem with most Portuguese-passport holding Goans in Europe and USA, and also some others with Indian passport but living in Goa. They conveniently forget that Goa is an integral part of India. And there is no question of any illegal occupation, just like the Portuguese did for 700 years. Goa is India and India is Goa.

Amrut |

Shaukat Kumar , New delhi:::: Goans are far more educated than you give them credit for.

Goans also view them selves as culturally different from the rest of India. Equally the Rest of India view Goa /Goans as culturally different form them.

Many of my own friends from other parts of India like Punjab,Gujarat, Tamilnadu, AP & Karnatka view Goa as a non-Indian entity.

Even Goan Hindus & Muslims view them selves as different from those in other parts of India.

Perhaps you need to brush up on your knowledge.

Goans are realists, and are not opposed to the presence of the Indian Navy.

Territorially too, Goa is a very, very small State. Bear that in mind.

What Goans are upset about is the illegal occupation or enforced OCCUPATION of the (only) airport in Goa.

If the Indian Navy came to Liberate Goa, why are they holding on to the war Booty?

It is my belief, right or wrong, that the Indian Navy has more if not better, sense, than the Governments that have been in power in Goa.

You need to understand, that many of the Goan MLA`s are a bunch of school failures & criminals. Many are visionless and short -sighted. They are only elected through use of Black money-power. The proposed airport at Mopa is no more than a grand & large-scale money making scheme, for these MLA`s. Their egos thrive on who has the biggest bank balances(looted of course) and other assets.

Mahatma Gandhi must be very disappointed by the Legacy he has left behind.

The Politicians in Goa ,like many in New Delhi too, are more interested in their Bank Balances and looting through dreaming up grand schemes,rather that the welfare of its citizens.

There is a purpose -built naval base in Karwar. Why are the Navy not prepared to move over there, to its modern 21st Century facilities?

After all there are modern vertical take-off (jump jets)jet fighters available that do not require a very large floor space/runaways.

N.Fernandes |

With due respects to Shaukat Kumar, Goans are as patriotic as Indians from any other state.

Many Goans have held high positions in the Indian Armed Forces and we are proud of our men and women serving in the defence forces.

We are Indian first and Goan next.

Portuguese had colonised Goa for over 450 years and hence there is still the effect of their culture, cuisine etc on Goans but it is totally wrong to say that Goans are against Indian Navy and would welcome if it was Portuguese instead of Indian.

The fact of the case as far as Dabolim Airport is concerned is that after liberation, our Navy has taken over Dabolim airport which was a civilian airport earlier. Our Navy can easily move to the new Sea Bird base coming up at Karwar and Dabolim airport can be exclusively used for civilian purpose.

In case of national emergencies, of course, our Navy will take over this airport for their exclusive use which nobody can object.

When it comes to India and Portugal, we know that we are Indians and Portugal had been the colonialists of Goa.

Politicians, specially those who are out of power are like fish out of water and they have their own ways of 'fooling' people with any issue that comes handy to them so that they can bounce back to power.

Let us not confuse this with the patriotism of Goans.


Francisco |

The opposition to NAVY mostly from certain SECTORS in GOA emanates because it is INDIAN NAVY. These same people will welcome it with open arms If it was Portuguese. Anti-India sentiments are on the rise amongst certain sections in Goa and many politicians are adding fertilizers to it. doesn't bode well for future of Goa.

Shaukat Kumar |

John , Goa ::: Once again with respect to your views, I need to clarify, that I am no expert.

However that should not exclude me from applying some common sense or exercising my knowledge & experiences from other sources including travel.

One (including you), would only consider building a new house when all other options have been thoroughly exhausted.

As far as I am aware no Goa Government has ever sat down seriously with the Navy/Defence Ministry to discuss ; either vacating from Dabolim completely or allocating more space for expansion of another runway for Civilian use.

Goan Governments thus far have been making assumptions, that the Navy will never leave under any circumstances.

What Goa Governments have been really good at is suffering from habitual "Delusions of Grandeur."


One ex-CM wanted a "Golden bridge" from Vasco to Panjim.

The Collectorate Building in Margao has been labelled as a "white elephant".

Mopa is speculated to follow suit.

Many other Government schemes are lying in tatters, crumbling, leaking, ill-maintained, sub-standard or or in a state of decomposition. Many have turned out to be part of large scale scams. Mopa too, seems to be part of a grand scam.

Since Liberation or Invasion, and with the increase of Tourism,Goa has been at the mercy of the Navy for civilian operations.

How many other States or even Countries are at the mercy of their Navy for Tourist Trades.

My reference to most airports not being "DUAL" Purpose refers to them not being used as Part civilian and part Defence. It is implied that International or Domestic flights are classed as Civilian use. Hope this rectifies your confusion.

And while I am on this, I need to state that many "Civilian" Airports do have contingency plans only, in case of enemy/terrorist attacks.

Perhaps you are not aware. But 2 feasibility studies have been conducted on Mopa Airport.

Both studies have clearly indicated that this is the 2nd best option.(The ADPi report of 2005 and the ICAO report of 2007).

Some useful info here:(

With modern day warfare technologies, there is no necessity to locate Naval installations near heavily populated civilian areas. Isn`t Mopa as strategic as Dabolim..

In any case it has been noted / rumoured that the Navy occupies more leisure & pleasure space in Goa, than required for its strategic operations.

N.Fernandes |


--However logically, if you have space to build an extension to your house, you do not go and build a new house, doubling your costs.

* Sometimes it makes sense to build a new house altogether, keeping future growth in mind.

Most Airports in the world are not dual purpose.

*Are you an expert on Airports? Just Google the number of airports in NY city. Look at Mumbai airport. It has separate wings for domestic and international flights!

All experts have confirmed that Mopa is not the best solution. But Goa Governments think otherwise.

*Who are these experts? Alemao, Kolemaos and Sardessai

--And most Naval airbases are not located in heavily populated Civilian areas.

*You are an expert on Naval bases and their locations too? Most defense organizations are strategically located.

--The issue with the Railway was the destruction of many houses. I am sure if your own house was going to be destroyed to make way for a railway, you too would be protesting.

* I hope you remember the slogan, 'Konkan Railway Amka Nakach Naaka. Or some folks preaching that Goan Churches and houses will collapse because of vibrations from the trains.

And in an hypothetical situation, if the tourists after landing at Goa, go to Kokan areas, so be it. Enough of these tourists in Goa. Filthy tourism has ruined Goa. Look at Calangute and Baga.

John |

John , Goa : with respect I can buy some of your views or understand them.

However logically, if you have space to build an extension to your house, you do not go and build a new house, doubling your costs.

All experts have confirmed that Mopa is not the best solution. But Goa Governments think otherwise.

Most Airports in the world are not dual purpose.

And most Naval airbases are not located in heavily populated Civilian areas.

The issue with the Railway was the destruction of many houses. I am sure if your own house was going to be destroyed to make way for a railway, you too would be protesting.

N.Fernandes |

I previously dealt with employment.

I would now like to ask Adv. Khalap how many Goans travel to other parts of India, encroach on other peoples, properties/lands,build little huts from cardboard & plastic sheets ,defecate in the open and live in Slums/Shanties.?

How many Goans travel to the Gulf or other parts of the world without proper job contracts and how does he equate it to many migrants that come to Goa without a job, or contract ,and squat around any available land.?.

Has Adv Khalap ever travelled to a foreign Country or even within India without a booking a Hotel or having a place to live.? Is this not what many migrants do in Goa?

N.Fernandes |

Thousands of Goans will shortly be completing their studies & University/College graduations.

Can Adv.Khalap advise these students which parts of Goa will they find jobs appropriate to their qualifications?.

Lets us hope he will put into practice what he Is preaching.

I am sure many would like to remain close to their families in Goa and contribute to its success.

Based on Adv.Khalaps views, many will not need to take the Konkan railway out of Goa, to places like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Banglore etc to seek employment.

Equally many will not need to fly out of Dabolim, to other parts of the world,while it is still a Civilian Airport looking for appropriate employment to feed their families.

Considering Adv. Khalap has been "all things to all Governments," in Goa & the Centre, he will be able to tell & convince all those Goans seeking jobs, that their wages in Goa will not be at "subsistence" levels, but a "decent Living wage".

I am sure in his wisdom, Adv Khalap believes that nepotism & family Raj does not exist at any level in Goa/India.

Adv. Khalap I am sure, will be able to explain to many Goans, why they have to pay huge amounts to get Government Jobs. If he believes that this id not happening, he probably has his foot in Goa, but his mind-set/knowledge on another planet.

I will be very happy to apologise to Adv. Khalap if he can prove ,that the Policies of all Goa governments have been employment friendly and applied with foresight.

N.Fernandes |

@N. Fernandes,

The same arguments were used at the time of Konkan Railway. What happened? they succeeded in changing its route through hinterland when the original route could have reduced some of the traffic congestion we see on our roads.

And worst of all, all those who were against it now regularly go to 'BOMAI' and 'VALNKANI' using the KOnkan Railway. They are also demanding more trains on the route.

If Goa doesn't want an airport at MOPA, then Sawantwadi and Vengurla is ready to embrace it!

John |

John , Goa:: It is not so much the development that Goans are afraid of. It is the greater malaise that will come with such a development.

The Government wants to build/permit a State of the art airport at Mopa.

When is it going to provide State of art schools, hospitals, urban roads etc, that will server the greater population of Goa.

The schools & hospitals are all crumbling in Goa. They are virtual cow sheds.

With Mopa, there will be an increase in Population. But has Goa currently got in place the infrastructure to serve them.

Expansion of Dabolim would be a better step by step & gradual /logical way forward.

N.Fernandes |

Anyone sitting on a High-Horse will always be looking down at others.

As a Legislator and holding Positions of power, Adv R Khalap has been inept In providing Goans (Common Man) with decent living wage jobs.

He has been thoroughly ineffective in advising his Governments to invest in Industries that would provide jobs.

He has been ineffective in stopping people having to pay to get jobs in Goa. While in Government may be he too was a part of this evil scam. Advocates are no angels.

He will no doubt deny many Government Jobs are offered to the highest bidder.

He will deny that Minsters are given a privilege, in the selection of their own candidates for jobs as part of a vote bank.

He is no doubt deluded ,that obtaining a job in Goa is based on a "level playing field." .

No wonder many have to move to greener pastures for this.

But then who is he referring to ? Those that have moved abroad for permanent settlement or those, the majority, that are working abroad on Contracts as in the Gulf & will return back to Goa....or even the shippies?

Is he aware that the bulk of Goans that have moved abroad permanently, still have an attachment to Goa...emotionally & financially.

Being a well paid Advocate, has Adv.Khalap ever had to worry about where his next days bread & butter will come from.?

Is Mr Khalap aware that with an influx & disproportionate migration from other states like Bihar into Goa,comes cheap slave labour.

Isnt it Adv.R Khalap`s Governments that permitted the sale of land to outsiders& nowadays even the Mafia aka DONS.?

It is pure speculation that Goans from Mumbai, abroad ,Banglore etc will want too arrive at Mopa and drive along an accident prone & frequently pot-holed highway to their destinations.

And who has created the slums & shanties.? Is it not the Goa Government ,aided by its corrupt Ministers who Mr Khalap served ,that allowed this to happen.?

Is Adv Khalap able to tell us who has given Communidade Lands to these Migrants? & How? .

The mess in Goa that people agitate against , is the creation of the Government of all hues.

The development that Adv.Khalap describes is all lop-sided & problematic. It has served the Corrupt Ministers & their cronies only...very well....and Adv.Khalap must consider himself as lucky & one of them.

Most of the basic infrastructure Adv. Khalap describes, is sub-standard. But he will disagree.

If erratic water supply, erratic electricity supply are considered as development...then his views are equally erratic, as people still complain about these basic issues.

N.Fernandes |

Khalap himself was a victim of Salcette dominance. He found a MGP coalition with Churchill who duped him by becoming a CM (for 30 days, followed by Barbosa for a few years) despite MGP being a larger group. This happened back in the 90s. Frankly, we need MOPA, it is a need of the hour. But people, especially from the Anti-Mopa camp, are mixing issues. They have political agendas and bigger fishes to fry.

Pedro |

I commend you for speaking the truth and laying out the facts.

Most politicians opposing Mopa are confused. Some say it is the Navy, some like Alemaos have a vested interest with hotel lobby. Vijay is opposing it because Parrikar is supporting it. And Alina-bai is all confused.

Truly selfish and anti-national attitude is flowing within the anti-Mopa lobby. For instance, they say Konkan area will develop with Mopa coming up. So what? Does Konkan lies in Pakistan?

Jai Hind, Jai Goa

John |

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Ramakant Khalap

Adv Ramakant Khalap is former Chairman of the Goa State Law Commission. Being a veteran politician of Goa, he has served the political arena as the union law minister as well as Goa’s deputy chief minister and the opposition leader in the past. He also takes keen interest in literature and cultural activities while heading several institutions, especially in the field of Marathi literature.


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