Ex-Rajya Sabha Member John Fernandes flayed the Indian Navy’s proposal to acquire the two islands off Mormugao and said that this was because the Navy considers Goa to be a holiday posting.
John Fernandes who was a member of the Parliamentary Civil Aviation Consultative Committee said that the Navy was seeking to acquire more and more land in Goa in the name of security but actually using it to erect offices and even rest houses to be used by the senior officials of the navy.
If security was the real concern then why is the Navy also not seeking control of the islands off the coast of Malwan, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri in Maharashtra State, he wondered.
“While the Navy is turning a blind eye to the unprotected Indian territory in Lakshadweep and Andamans which are often encroached upon by foreign nationals, it is over enthusiastic about land in Goa,” he said.
He recalled that the Navy had earlier sought to acquired land at Dona Paula belonging to the Church and dropped the idea only after there were strong protests. “Today a school is set up on that land which is helping the local population,” he said
John Fernandes also pointed out how the Navy refused to honour its commitments to return land in its possession to civilian authorities. He recalled that the defense forces were allotted huge tract of land at Bambolim on condition that they would vacate the land occupied by them in Panjim and Altinho. “While they took possession of the land at Bambolim, they have not relinquished the land in their possession at Panjim and Altinho,” he said.
Similarly the Navy is not wiling to surrender the land earlier used as a shooting range at Cavelossim even though it is no longer useful to them.
John Fernandes also pointed out that though the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in the 90s had accepted the proposal for joint command of airspace by civil and defence forces, the same is not yet implemented as a result of which incidents like sending back flights as happened on 30th September occur at Dabolim.