Helipad row turns ‘physical’, police evacuate local ‘authorities’

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 03 February 2016 15:04 IST

The opposition to Sinquerim helipad turned physical today with former MLA, local Sarpanch and panch members being forced out from the helipad site by the police.

Former Congress MLA Agnel Fernandes, Candolim Sarpanch Sandra Fiola and eight other panch members went to the helipad at Aguada plateau to stop the helicopter joy ride service.

In spite of opposition, the tourism department had gone ahead with the joy ride service from yesterday.

The police team cordoned the whole area and restrained the authorities of local self-government from reaching the helicopter parked at the site.

“We wanted to actually go and sit in the helicopter, not allowing it to fly”, ex-MLA Fernandes later told the media.

The police team headed by PI Tushar Vernekar said the locals were ‘evacuated’ from the site while warning them not to enter the site, which belongs to the tourism department.

The joy ride, run by Pawan Hans, a central government undertaking, took around almost 25 tourists yesterday with five trips, said Nikhil Desai, managing director of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation.


Sarpanch Fiola alleged that GTDC and Pawan Hans are running the joy ride service illegally, without taking permission from the local Panchayat.  

“You show me the provision and I will apply immediately for the permission”, Desai told goanews.com.

According to him, mandatory permissions have been taken from all the concerned authorities under air traffic rules and it does not require permission of the local self-government.

These authorities include the Navy, Director General of Civil Aviation, Air Traffic Control, Police and the district collector.

According to Desai, they are just parking a transporting unit in the 13,000 sq mts of area belonging to the tourism department.

He also points out that the helipad exists at Sinquerim plateau since 1983, when it was built for the CHOGM retreat.

“Why the Panchayat did not ask for the permission for the last 40 years”, asks Desai, while dubbing the opposition as political. 

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This is result of too much rights without responsibility given by panchayat act. This has made people crave for more from govt without sacrifice. Besides with the entry of church the issue becomes religious in a secular state. Matter of great worry.

- Madhav Bastodker, Ponda | 03 rd February 2016 18:40


These heliflights are a noise nuisance and pose a real threat to the environment and its wildlife. As a longterm and regular visitor to Goa it distresses me to see such a lack of care and investment in the natural beauty Goa has to offer.


- Andi Carre, candolim | 03 rd February 2016 16:32


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