Defence Expo or Air Force base? New row over Quittol site

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 04 January 2016 00:56 IST

Is Defence Expo an excuse to acquire more land for defence ministry in Goa and build a permanent Air Force station?

The question is being raised by GenNext, an organisation floated by the Congress, based on a website of Defence Expo 2016, which makes a specific mention of Air Force Station.

According to GenNext president Durgadas Kamat, the site of Defence Expo held in Bengaluru last year has been converted today into Yehlanka Air Force station.

A similar Air Force Station in Pathankot was attacked by terrorists last week, GenNext points out.

The organisation has raised suspicion about the whole issue of land acquisition at Quittol in Quepem taluka since it also plans to build 10,000 ft long runway for the Aero Show.

While Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has been consistently clarifying that Goa has permitted Defence Expo only for one year after which it would be reviewed, GenNext claims that it is going to be a permanent venue.

The defence authorities also don’t deny the fact that the original proposal was to make Goa a permanent venue like IFFI in Panaji.

But the proposal has been put on hold due to opposition from a section of locals as well as the opposition parties and independents like Vijai Sardesai.

“We have found out that Air Force Station clearly means Air Force airport, where Jet fighter planes etc would be parked in emergency situations”, claims Kamat.

 

He also points out at the cautions put up on the website of prohibiting photography or videography over the Indian Aero Space at the Air Force station at Quittol in Quepem.

Kamat has also raised a pertinent question of how defence ministry has started promoting Defence Expo in Goa when the state government has not even signed the MoU with the defence ministry and no work has started at the site.

The defence ministry, as informed by CM Parsekar, is planning to hold four-day Defence Expo in the last week of March this year.

The preparations not only include development of the Quittol site but widening of roads and building a small bridge at Balli to transport the heavy defence vehicles to the site.

Kamat has thus demanded that CM Parsekar writes to the defence ministry, seeking explanation over the mention of Air Force Station. 

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If it is air force base or a station Goans should welcome it. It is duty of Goa to participate in defence readyness and in future for air offensive. Let us not think of this election.

- Madhav Bastodker, Ponda | 04 th January 2016 07:51

 

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