Dabolim’s future is in state government’s hands: Raju

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Flights wait to take off at the Andheri East domestic airport as heavy rain continued to lash Mumbai on Wednesday. Vasant Prabhu *** Local Caption *** "Heavy rains cause congestion in the air and the flights waiting to take off at the Domestic Airport, Andheri East on Wednesday. Express Photo by Vasant Prabhu Mumbai, 11.06.08"

VASCO: Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Rajuon Saturday said that the Centre will be guided by the state government in deciding whether the existing Dabolim airport in the coastal state will continue after commissioning of the new greenfield airport at Mopa.

Speaking after inaugurating an art gallery at the Dabolim airport on Saturday evening, Raju said “The central government has been totally guided by the state government on Mopa airport. The investors are expected to have done their home work properly. If it works out, its better. We are happier to have more airports.”

While speaking about Mopa airport, Raju recalled that as per the government of India, a new airport within a radius of 150km of the existing airport, is not very feasible. “If such a thing happens, then the returns and infrastructure tend to become unviable,”he added.

Speaking on the operations of civilian flights being affected by the presence of theIndian Navy at Dabolim airport, Raju said, “The activities of civil aviation is important but at the same time the defence preparedness shall not be compromised with
Raju was referring to the demand of reducing the navy’s flying practice hours at Dabolim airport.
While talking about Wi-Fi connectivity at the airport and aboard aircrafts, he said the pros and cons are being discussed and soon a decision will be taken in this matter.

When asked about his views on Goa’s tourism, Raju said, “Goa is rich in tourism culture and it receives domestic as well as international tourists. The Russians and the Georgians have a special emotional connection to Goa.” The government expects immense growth in tourism and its returns to the government, he added.

He also said creating 100 jobs at the airport is like creating 600 jobs outside.