Panaji, Jan 16 | The Supreme Court on Thursday lifted the suspension of the environment clearance to the upcoming Mopa international airport in North Goa, allowing resumption of construction of the aviation facility.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by Goa-based environmentalists who had questioned the felling of several thousand trees to give way to the airport, at North Goa’s Mopa plateau located around 25 km from Panaji.
A year ago, the apex court had directed the airport’s promoters, a joint venture between GMR and the Goa government, to maintain status quo vis-a-vis the construction of the airport due to environment concerns listed in the petition.
“The Supreme Court has lifted the suspension on the Environmental Clearance. There have been no additional conditions but National Environmental Engineering Research Institute has been appointed to ensure that the conditions put in place by the National Green Tribunal, the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests and other additional conditions are adhered too,” Goa government’s Director of Civil Aviation department Suresh Shanbogue told reporters here after the apex court’s order earlier on Thursday.
“Work will recommence immediately. It may take some time to get the speed because we have to move our machinery there once again. When the work was stopped last time there were around 2,000 people on the site. But within three weeks or so the work will pick up speed,” the official also said.
In its first phase the airport is expected to cater to 4.5 million passengers and at the end of fourth phase its handling capacity is expected to be 13 million.