Stalling developmental projects is the worst form of obstruction of justice for the poor: Piyush Goyal on NGO lobbies

New Delhi: Union Minister for Commerce and Trade Piyush Goyal, image via Twitter

Union Railways and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday stated that a mass movement was needed against NGOs, who are stopping development work in the country. He urged non-governmental organisations not to impede development, calling it the “worst form of obstructing justice” for the poor.

On Saturday, Piyush Goyal, speaking at the ‘Vibrant Goa’ investment summit held near Panaji, stated that he was willing to go on a public platform with folded hands to plead to the NGOs not to impede development projects with litigations and delays. He was referring to the delays in the greenfield airport at the Mopa Plateau in North Goa which has been held up due to litigations.

The Mopa airport was expected to be commissioned by the year 2020. But due to litigations and subsequent court orders, it has been delayed by more than a year. In July this year, CM Pramod Sawant had informed the Goa assembly that the physical progress achieved in the airport project was only 14.28%.

The Supreme Court had ordered a stay on the work on site after some NGOs had complained that trees are being cut. In March this year, the SC had cancelled the environmental clearance granted to the Mopa airport project and had stalled work on site.

“Frankly, I heard that the airport is under some litigation and it’s gone to the court. I don’t mind on the public platform to fold my hands and appeal to those NGOs and those few people who are coming in the path of development, who are not helping Goa grow, who are not helping the cause of the people of Goa by this form of litigation,” Goyal said.

Goyal said such projects will make Goa a world-class state with a quality of life comparable to the best in the world. The airport project is being undertaken by the GMR Group in association with the Government of Goa.

“I think it’s high time that there’s a mass movement of the people of India and the people of Goa against these forces, who are not allowing development to happen in Goa, who are not allowing good roads, who are not allowing good hotels, who are not allowing good airports, who are not allowing the expansion of the port,” Goyal said.

Read: Mumbai Metro: Trees can and should be replaced, but what happens to the cost of stalled infrastructure projects?

The construction of the Mopa greenfield airport is expected to boost the promotion of the coastal state as a world-class destination for tourism. The Mopa airport, the first phase of which was to be completed in 2020, has got delayed after the Supreme Court suspended the environment clearance provided to the project.

He also urged the people of Goa to promote music festivals on the lines of the iconic Woodstock festival to attract more tourists to the coastal state.

“We are right on the cusp of the tourist season, the flight was completely full, so I can see the rush of tourists coming here and I’m sure this year is going to be a phenomenally good year for tourists,” Goyal said.

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