PM inaugurates new international airport in Mopa, Goa
Panaji, December 11, 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said vote banks had been the first priority of past governments in their approach towards infrastructural development instead of the needs and requirements of the citizens.
Inaugurating the new international airport at Mopa in Goa, he said that thousands of crores of rupees were spent on projects that were not even required.
"As a result, the places that were in dire need of infrastructural development remained neglected. Goa International Airport is a clear example of this," he said.
He recalled that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had initially planned the airport but after it went out of power the project remaiend abandoned for many years.
He said that after he assumed office in 2014, work on the airport gained new momentum and he laid the foundation stone six years ago and despite legal hurdles and the pandemic, it is ready to function today.
The airport, developed at a cost of about Rs 2,870 crore, has the capacity to handle about 4 million passengers per annum (MPPA)which can be scaled up to a saturation capacity of 33 million MPPA.
Apart from tourism benefits, the presence of two airports has created new opportunities for Goa as a cargo hub, he said.
The airport has been built on the theme of sustainable infrastructure and comprises a solar power plant, green buildings, LED lights on the runway, rainwater harvesting, state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant with recycling facilities, among other such facilities.
Modi expressed happiness that the Airport is named after the late Manohar Parrikar, who had served as Chief Minister of Goa and also as the Defence Minister of the country.
The Prime Minister pointed out that Manohar International Airport is proof of the changed working style and approach to governance. He said before 2014, air travel was an elite affair for well-to-do people.
"This neglect of the common citizen’s desire for air travel led to low investment in airports and other infrastructure related to air travel and India lagged behind in air travel despite huge potential," he said.
He said that in the first 70 years of independence, the number of airports in the country was just 70 and air travel was restricted to big cities.
He said his Government worked on two levels. First, the airport network was expanded throughout the country. Second, common citizens got the opportunity for air travel via the UDAN scheme. In the last eight years, 72 airports have been constructed.
The number of air passengers rose to more than 14 crores in 2020 (just before the pandemic) compared to just 6 crore passengers in 2000. More than 1 crore passengers flew under the UDAN scheme. “Because of these measures, India has become the world’s third largest aviation market,” he said.
Referring to the achievements of the Udaan Yojna, the Prime Minister said that it has the potential to become a case study for the academic world. The Prime Minister also remarked on the changing trend of the middle class checking for air tickets instead of railways even for shorter distances. He remarked that as the network of air connectivity expands in the country, travel by air is fast becoming the go-to means of transportation.
“It is true that tourism helps in boosting the soft power of a nation, while as a nation becomes stronger, the world wants to know more about that nation and is attracted towards it,” he said.
He listed the various steps to increase the numbers of foreign tourists as well as domestic tourists.