Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Leela's Sussegado shack

SHACK ATTACK: Following the script -1

July 29-August 4, 2013

Lionel Messias

Known for their don’t give a hoot attitude and matching lifestyles, Goa beach shack owners have forever been sitting ducks for the local media.  “Shack attack” as an English daily rather colourfully titled its cover story last week as it tried to show the shacks in bad light for not dismantling their temporary shacks as required during the off-season, was a classic example.  Shack owners say the story was in actual fact a shark attack on them, notwithstanding the truth that the shack owner in question did bend the rules.  “But in Goa’s 5-star hotel and real estate industry, who doesn’t, and look how blatant they are?  Do we harm the environment like they do, cut up entire hillsides or build well beyond the approved plans?”  You can’t argue that.  In truth interviewing shack owners can be taxing because you are always pointed in the direction of those who abuse Goa’s beaches the most, and there’s a whole list of them.  After one newspaper wrote about the glass shards on some beaches, thrown there by drunken domestic tourists, there was no follow up story.

Big hotels breaking environmental protection laws is reported by the media only if the information is spoonfed by the Goa Pollution Control Board or Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority which in any case are always watered-down versions.  Within that rather restricted ambit a 5-star infringement is strictly vorboten (forbidden). In other words, “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” is the order of business when it comes to big hotels.

Beginning this week in a three-part series, Goanspirit will attempt to put things in perspective, with a slight bias of course for the underdog, because this is what we stand for always.

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Neemrana airport

Runaway failures: a tale of failed airport projects -8

July 22-28, 2013

Lionel Messias

Neemrana no more

In 2010 came the first admission that the Rs 3,000 crore Greenfield international airport at Shahpura (a.k.a Neemrana) in Rajasthan was stuck with the state government (Congress) despite having all the regulatory clearances from the ministry of defence, ministry of environment and forest, ministry of home affairs, director general of civil aviation and Airports Authority of India (AAI).  In fact, a steering committee, comprising representatives from the ministries of civil aviation, defence, home affairs, economic affairs and revenue, as well as those from the meteorological department, AAI, directorate general of civil aviation, and the state government, had approved the airport on May 28, 2009, after it had got the necessary approvals.

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Durgapur aerotropolis

Runaway failures: a tale of failed airport projects -6

July 8-14, 2013

Lionel Messias

The Durgapur Aerotropolis

In November 2005, Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd (BAPL) identified the need for an airport within the Andal-Durgapur region in Bengal.  India’s first aerotropolis was born.  Spread over approximately 2,182 acres, the Durgapur Aerotropolis Project (DAP) was to come up in the Asansol-Durgapur planning area (ADPA) of Burdwan district which had mining, iron and steel, engineering, petrochemicals, IT and telecommunications, and the location of the Durgapur airport was to be of great help.  At least that was the case made out with the help of a willing media.  BAPL got the in-principal clearance from the ministry of civil aviation and the land use development control plan (LUDCP) approved by the Asansol- Durgapur development authority (ADDA).  It also signed a technical services agreement with Changi Airports India Pte Ltd, Singapore in March 2008 before the then minister of civil aviation Praful Patel.

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Runaway failures: a tale of failed airport projects -7

July 15-21, 2013

Lionel Messias

Federa airport grounded?

Among all the Greenfield airport failures in India, Gujarat’s - despite Narendra Modi - Federa airport is virtually a stillborn baby.  Not even the land has been acquired in this case. 

This has been its progress thus far:

February 2008 : Federa international airport gets in-principal nod.
January 2010: Location shifted to Navgam, 75sq km space allotted.
February 2010: AAI team gives technical clearance nod.
April 2011: Govt-appointed consultant begins environmental clearance process.
April 2011: Govt told that airport can't get environmental clearance (EC) after CRZ (coastal regulatory zone) notification of 2010 replaced CZM (the site is very close to the coast and falls under CRZ I category where no development is allowed.)
August 2011: CM Narendra Modi officially accuses union government of bias in denying Federa airport, while approving the Navi Mumbai (another failed airport covered in Runaway failures: a tale of failed airport projects -5.)
January 2012: GEC member-secretary makes presentation to union government; state told to work out a different alignment.

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Navi Mumbai Airport

Runaway failures: a tale of failed airport projects -5

July 1-7, 2013

Lionel Messias

Navi Mumbai Greenfield cost escalates 306 per cent!

The Navi Mumbai Greenfield airport project is perhaps the best case scenario of a failed effort but from a different point of view, it was predestined to have an adverse environmental impact from the start despite getting cleared in November by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF).  The project falls within 10 km of the Karnala bird sanctuary and the Supreme Court has made it mandatory for projects located within 10 km of a protected wildlife area to get the approval of the National Board for Wildlife.  Though there are several versions of the actual distance to the sanctuary, which is not surprising.

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