In 2022, Goa saw Pramod Sawant’s continuation as CM for 2nd term, addition of airport and concrete steps towards mining resumption

0
151

Panaji: For Goa, year 2022 began on a high note politically with the conduct of the Assembly polls in February that saw the BJP retaining power and Pramod Sawant occupying the chief minister’s chair for the second straight term even as the Congress’s strength in the 40-member House dipped further.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 20 out of 40 seats and formed a government with the help of three independents and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) that bagged two seats.

Despite a high-decibel campaign, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) drew a blank, while the Arvind Kejriwal-headed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) opened account with two seats.

The Congress, which won 11 seats in the polls, witnessed depletion of its strength in the House more than six months later as eight of the MLAs, including former chief minister Digambar Kamat, switched to the ruling BJP. With this, the grand old party’s count of legislators came down to just three.

Interestingly, in the run up to the Assembly elections, the Congress had taken its candidates to different places of religious worships where they were administered the pledge of not switching sides if elected.

Towards the end of the year, the coastal state got its much-awaited full-fledged civilian airport. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 11 inaugurated the greenfield international airport at Mopa village in North Goa, which was named after former chief minister and defence minister late Manohar Parrikar.

The Mopa airport was keenly awaited as the Dabolim airport, which was managed by the Navy, was suffering from capacity constraint. The Dabolim airport, a south Goa-based facility, was operated as a civil enclave in Indian Navy’s air station INS Hansa.

The new Mopa facility has the capacity to handle the extra large wide-body jet aircraft like an Airbus A380, the GMR Goa International Airport Management has said.

The first phase of the airport will cater to around 4.4 million passengers per annum (MPPA), which can be expanded to a saturation capacity of 33 MPPA, it said.

In another significant development for Goa, the state government earlier this year auctioned three of its mining blocks, paving the way for resumption of the iron ore mining in the state.
Mid-December, the government announced that Vedanta Limited has emerged as a successful bidder for one of the mining blocks.

Mining in the state had come to a standstill in Goa in early 2018 after the Supreme Court cancelled 88 leases and prohibited the extraction of fresh ore.

The state government has said that the fresh extraction of iron ore in the state will begin after the monsoon next year (2023). In the meanwhile, it will e-auction piles of low-grade ore lying across state’s mineral rich belts. The Supreme Court has allowed e-auctioning of the iron ore dumps in the state.

On the law and order front, the death of Sonali Phogat, a BJP leader from Haryana, rocked the state.

Phogat died in the beach village of Anjuna in August, after partying with her two associates, both of whom were accused of administering her banned drugs, including MDMA.

The episode once again exposed the drug trade that has girpped the coastal belt and its tourism sector. Two of her associates were arrested along with three drug traffickers and the case was later handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

In July this year, ‘Silly Souls Café and Bar’, an upmarket restaurant in Assagao in North Goa was at the centre of a controversy. The Congress had alleged Union Minister Smriti Irani’s daughter was linked to the property, a charge rejected by her.

In July, the Goa Excise Commissioner heard a complaint filed by lawyer-activist Aires Rodrigues alleging that the licence to run this outlet was obtained “illegally” and that it was renewed this year in the name of a person who died in 2021. In October, the excise commissioner issued an order allowing the licence of the bar which was renewed in the deceased man’s name.

Earlier this month, the state got All India Institute of Ayurveda at Dhargal village in North Goa. PM Modi inaugurated it on the day the Mopa airport was thrown open for public use.

In the field of sports, Goa hosted U-17 FIFA women’s football world cup matches at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Fatorda in South Goa this year, and it is getting ready to host the National Games next year.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here