With Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar back at the helm, the Union Home Ministry is learnt to have given security clearance for construction of GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL) in North Goa.
The state government had sought approval of central agencies for Megawide Construction Corporation, one of Philippines’s leading engineering and infrastructure developers, and Dubai Consultants, both engaged by GMR for the upcoming greenfield airport at Mopa.
Officials said that construction of the airport had started and the state government has appointed Engineers India limited (EIL) to monitor the construction.
The Philippines-based company was vetted at the time of tendering, but once the contract was finalised and they engaged the services of a Dubai-based consultant, there was need for a second round of security clearance. “Inputs from Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis were sought and conveyed to the state government and Ministry of Civil Aviation,” an official added.
Refusing to elaborate on any objections raised by the agencies, the official said that if there is any feedback from the agencies on the grounds of national or economic security, the concerned ministry is informed. “At the time of vetting, the agencies examine the role of the company, its promoters, directors and key executives. The security clearance procedure took into account their involvement, if any, in any case that might have adverse implications on national security,” he said. While the decision of granting or denying security clearance remains with the MHA, inputs are shared with concerned administrative ministries to enable them to take an appropriate decision, as deemed fit, in accordance with their rules, policy, procedure, guidelines, he added.
The GGIAL, an SPV formed by GMR Airports Limited, signed the concession agreement with Government of Goa for development and operation of the Greenfield International Airport at Mopa in 2016. Two years later, Megawide was selected as it was the lowest bidder. As per the concession agreement, GGIAL will have the right to operate the business for 40 years, extendable by another 20 years. The estimated cost of Phase I of the project is Rs 3,100 crore. It will be completed in four phases, and work on the first phase is expected to be completed by 2020, an official said.