A decision last week by India’s Supreme Court has cleared the way for the construction of an international airport at Mopa in the southwest state of Goa.Â
The project, which is being developed by India’s GMR Group, was suspended by the Supreme Court in March last year on environmental grounds, including the preservation of forests and airport’s impact on "natural water channels".
The court has lifted the suspension, subject to "numerous mitigatory conditions" and the acceptance of a supervisory body to ensure that the project complies with its environmental obligations. The decision says: "We direct the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute be appointed to oversee compliance with the directions cumulatively issued by this Court. The project proponent shall bear the costs, expenses and fees of NEERI."
The project will now be taken forward by GMR Goa International Airport, a subsidiary of the GMR group. Environmental commitments made by GMR include making the airport zero carbon, and "maintaining the balance of sustainable development".
A statement (PDF) from the group welcomed the decision, and added: "We plan to commence work for the new airport in Goa soon, in compliance with the orders of the Honourable Supreme Court. The new airport at Mopa is expected to enhance tourism and employment opportunities in Goa and open up new avenues for boosting the economy of the state."
GMR Group’s airport portfolio includes Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. It also runs Mactan Cebu International Airport in partnership with Megawide in the Philippines. As well as Mopa, it is developing Heraklion airport in Crete, in partnership with GEK Terna.
Image: Goa is one of India’s top tourist destinations (Saad Faruque/CC BY-SA 2.0)