The Indian Navy on Thursday supported the need for an additional international airport in Goa, calling it 'the need of the hour'.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Vasco, Flag Officer Commanding Goa Area, Rear Admiral S.M. Vadgaonkar said that the present airport at Dabolim, which was controlled by the Indian Navy, was incapable of handling increasing traffic, which Goa would attract in the near future.
"On one side of the airport, you have the Arabian Sea and on the other there are populated areas. The present airport cannot be extended any further," he said.
"There is no scope for construction of a cargo area, which is essential for civilian operations," he added.
Vadgaonkar also noted that the present facility at Dabolim had been exposed to an increasing number of several aviation risks in recent times.
"Indiscriminate dumping of garbage and drying of fish in the populated areas along the air strip has led to increased bird menace near the runway," he said.
The proposed construction of an international airport at Mopa, near the Maharashtra border on Goa's northern tip has virtually split political opinion on geographical lines.
While the new airport is being backed by elected representatives from North Goa, the project is being vehemently opposed by politicians from South Goa, who claim that the construction of the new airport would be more beneficial to tourism in southern Maharashtra rather than Goa.
The Goa government has already initiated measures to acquire the land measuring 830,000 sq metres approximately. The state's only airport is presently located at Dabolim, near Vasco in South Goa.