Congress accuses Mauvin of interfering in the MPDA meeting last November to reject the Colour Code Plan by the Navy to protect the funnel zone of aircraft from high-rises. In fact, the court says the MPDA and Panchayat affidavits create the impression that they are interested in protecting structures regardless of aviation safety. The Court has directed the navy to file compliance report on action against constructions in survey No. 60/2 of Chicalim, before 7th September, 2020.

March 15, 2020

Lionel Messias

Or, does the BJP have a serious problem of double standards? The following are excerpts quoted verbatim from a presser addressed by Congress spokesman Trajan D’Mello on February 2, 2020. As you will see, the real facts were ignored by the English media almost in its entirety.  

* ‘The game plan of the panchayat minister with his accomplice who is a member of the MPDA to bring obstacles in the funnel zone of the Dabolim Airport with intention to close down Dabolim Airport has been shattered by a historic judgment of the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court’.

* ‘On November 23, 2019 I raised the issue of illegal constructions within the funnel zone and the Navy by its letter dated 7/5/2018 informed the Chief Secretary that these illegal buildings could be used by inimical elements to gather valuable intelligence which would be severely detrimental to national security and such intelligence could become a precursor to use of short range weapons against aviation targets.’

* ‘I had also mentioned that Kamla Prasad Yadav, deputy Sarpanch of the Chicalim VP, also member of Mormugao PDA (MPDA) and close aide of the notorious panchayat minister was also involved in illegal construction within the funnel zone.’

* ‘I also mentioned that the Navy has now formulated a Colour Coded Zoning Map (CCZM) and for any construction within a radius of 4 km of the airport, a NOC from the Navy is mandatory.’

* The High Court in its hearing dated 06/02/2020 in PIL WP No. 10/2018, 11/2018 & 13/2018 recorded at Point 3 as under; “During the discussion, the Authority was informed by Hon’ble Minister of Panchayat that the Minister had called a meeting on 22/10/2019, regarding the CCZM which was also attended by Officials of the Navy. The State Government did not agree with CCZM submitted by the Navy and the CM has written a letter to the Union Defence Minister and that letter was read out.”

* ‘Due to interference of the panchayat minister, the MPDA in its 2nd meeting held on 18/11/2019 adopted a resolution to reject the Colour Code Plan. This has exposed the arrogance of his authority paying scant respect to the judiciary when the writ petitions were heard. The motive was to try and abort judicial power.’

…and so said the court

* The High Court in its order dated 06/02/2020 recorded that;

“According to us, at least, prima facie, the MPDA will have no authority to pass the aforesaid resolution as, the passing of the aforesaid resolution virtually amounts to the MPDA acting in defiance of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Higher Restrictions for safeguarding of Aircraft Operations) Rule, 2015 or the Colour Coded Zoning Map (CCZM) prepared thereunder. This is a matter of aviation safety and, therefore, due deference is necessary to be shown to not only the 2015 Rules, but also the CCZM prepared thereunder. If, in pursuance of the aforesaid resolution the MPDA, in the name of maintaining status quo, is permitted to issue development permissions in defiance of the 2015 Rules or the CCZM prepared thereunder, what will be at stake is the aviation safety itself.”

* The High Court further recorded in its order that, “Further, what is disturbing is that such a resolution was passed during the pendency of these Petitions. One of the Parties to these Petitions Kamla Prasad Yadav, who is alleged to have undertaken the unauthorized construction prima facie in defiance of 2015 Rules and the CCZM prepared thereunder, is also a party to the aforesaid resolution.”

* ‘In the circumstances, the High Court in its interim order dated 06/02/2020 expressed its displeasure towards the MPDA overriding aviation safety and has strongly come down on the MPDA for adopting a resolution with MPDA member who is involved in unauthorized construction in the funnel zone.’

* In its historic judgment dated 28/02/2020 in PIL WP No. 10/2018, the court recorded that, “From the affidavits filed by the MPDA and the Panchayat, an impression is created that these authorities, are interested in protecting such structures regardless of issue of aviation safety.”

Conflict of interest

* The High Court at para 46 raised a serious issue of a case of conflict between interest and duty. Kamla Prasad Yadav participated in the MPDA meeting as member and as Dy. Sarpanch of Chicalim VP. The court asked the state government to look into this situation with all seriousness because, if members, having conflict of interest are taking part in the decision process, the ensuing decisions may be rendered vulnerable, if challenged.  

* The Hon’ble High Court ordered that “(f) We direct the Flag Officer, Commanding to file compliance report regards the action against the constructions in survey No. 60/2 of Chicalim, in the registry of this Court on or before 7th September, 2020.”

* In its order dated 28/02/2020, the High Court ordered that; a) “The Court directs that if any appeals are instituted, the Appellate Authority to dispose of such appeals within a period of three months from the date of their institution. The outer limit for completion of action will then stand proportionately extended up to nine months.”

* “The Court directs that the Union of India, through Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Jt. Director General of Civil Aviation (Jt. DGCA), the Dy. Director General of Civil Aviation (Dy. DGCA) to act upon report made by the Flag Officer, Commanding within in a period of maximum six months from the date of receipt of such report from the Flag Officer, Commanding.”

* “The Court directs the Flag Officer, Commanding to immediately initiate/pursue action against the constructions which have come up in and around the Dabolim Airport areas and to complete such action as expeditiously as possible and in any case within a period of nine months from today.”

* “The Court directs the Flag officer, Commanding to file compliance report with regard to the action taken/status report in respect of remaining structures in and around the Dabolim Airport areas on or before 31st March, 2021.”

* “The Court directs MPDA and the Village Panchayat of Chicalim to refrain from granting any permission in respect of the properties affected by the CCZM, unless, the Applicants obtains the NOC from the Flag Officer, Commanding.”