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Matanhy for shifting of Dabolim naval centre to Karwar

Special Correspondent

‘It will pave way for returning airport to civilian authorities'

PANAJI: Matanhy Saldanha, former Goa Tourism Minister and activist, has demanded that the Goa government take up with the Ministry of Defence the shifting of the Naval Training Centre at Dabolim to the Karwar naval base.

Pointing out that the Centre is preparing to spend Rs.10,000 crore on the Karwar naval base expansion, he told The Hindu on Monday that the Goa government should demand that the shifting of the training centre to Karwar be made part of the expansion programme.

Mr. Saldanha has been for long demanding that the Navy return possession of the Dabolim international airport to civilian authorities. He said that shifting of the training centre to Karwar would pave the way for returning of the Dabolim airport to civilian authorities as it was prior to Goa's liberation by the Indian armed forces.

“The Dabolim airport was seized by the Indian armed forces through its Operation Vijay and has remained in its custody as war booty,” Mr. Saldanha said and added that it was now time to demand it back to the civilian authorities as a Golden Jubilee gift to Goa by the forces that liberated it. Goa is presently celebrating its golden jubilee year of liberation from the Portuguese rule.

Mr. Saldanha said that the Indian armed forces had sizeable land in Goa in its possession which was nearly 10 per cent of the total area of the State.

The Karwar naval base is being expanded to act as a check to the proposed construction of a naval base at Gwadar in Pakistan by China which will give Pakistan direct access to the Gulf region.

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