Goa Chief minister Pramod Sawant, in a written reply to a question tabled by independent MLA Rohan Khaunte on Wednesday, said 54,176 trees have been cut at the Mopa airport site and 500 trees have been replanted.
Sawant also informed the House that 1,500 jobs are expected to be available once Mopa airport becomes operational. Construction of the airport is in progress and the first phase is expected to be commissioned next year.
In two separate orders in August 2018, the forest department had granted conditional NOCs for felling trees for the construction of the greenfield Mopa international airport.
One of the conditions was that the user agency shall replant ten times the number of tree saplings against the actual number of trees felled, with tall saplings of local or indigenous species within the project area and in the vicinity of Mopa in blank areas identified in consultation with the forest department, the chief minister stated in his reply.
To the question of recruitment by the project proponent, Sawant replied that 26 Goans have been recruited directly under GMR Goa International Airport Limited while 479 Goans are working at the airport construction site.
“Clause 5.9 of the concession agreement envisages obligations relating to employment of people of Goa and displaced families. More than 1,500 jobs are expected to be available once the airport becomes operational. The government has already approved setting up an aviation skill development centre at the airport site to impart training to Goan unemployed youth to be eligible for such jobs,” he said.