January 2, 2016

Goa is permanent venue for DefExpo, Aero India: RTI docus

Panaji: Contradicting chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar's assertion that a decision is yet to be made on hosting the Defexpo permanently in Goa, right to information (RTI) documents TOI has in possession show that the state government has already agreed "in-principle" to making Goa a permanent venue for the Aero India Show and for the Defexpo. Going further, the state government has already recommended infrastructural works to prepare for the military exhibition.

RTI documents clearly show a note from principal secretary, industries saying that GIDC "will have to give consent" to allot land for permanent venue of DefExpo and Aero India.

The file also states that it had been resolved to allot 150 acres of land to the ministry of defence for organizing Defexpo 2016 and as a permanent venue for Aero India.

"Goa should be a permanent venue for Aero India Show, there should be fixed income to GIDC and incorporate a clause to repossess the land in case the show is shifted elsewhere in the future," under secretary, industries Shashank Thakur says in a handwritten note on September 17, 2015.

On Thursday, Parsekar had tried to assert that Goa would be a temporary location for Defexpo and that the land would be leased only for four days. "The chief minister is lying to the people. The project will require widening of roads to accommodate, heavy military equipment, large containers and trucks and for this nearby houses will have to be destroyed," president GenNext Durgadas Kamat alleged.RTI documents also show that defence minister Manohar Parrikar had written on June 12 to Parsekar asking for a 10,000 feet long runway along the coastline and the development of a modern and ideal convention centre. Speaking in September, Parrikar had said, "Talk about moving the air show to a different city has been doing the rounds before I took charge as the defence minister. Right now, we don't have any plans for a change of venue."

The state government in a meeting on October 12 at the secretariat has recommended widening of roads from the main highway, repair of internal roads, raising of electrical cables and erection of CISF observation towers, RTI documents indicate.GIDC at its 344th board meeting held on July 15 resolved to grant an in-principle approval for allotment of 150 acres of land in Quitol Industrial estate to the ministry of defence on a permanent basis for organizing the Defexpo and Aero India show.

Around 600 companies, including 300 foreign military equipment manufacturers are expected to participate in Defexpo 2016.


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