Panaji: The tussle between the armed forces and the government over land continues in Goa with Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar saying that getting the army to "vacate from Lahore" would be easier than getting it to free "even an inch of land in Panaji".

"It is easier to get the army to vacate from Lahore, but not from even an inch of land in Panaji," Parrikar said in the Assembly on Wednesday while discussing the issue of getting defence forces to exit from land they had "occupied" in the state.

The issue has been a prickly one since 1961 when Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule. The main points of clash have been over plots of land occupied by the army in Panaji, where the 2 Signal Training Centre has headquarters, and the international airport at Dabolim being operated by the navy.

Repeated efforts made by the state government to get the airport as well as the plot in Panaji vacated of the defence control have fallen on deaf ears, say politicians across party affiliations.

"We have already given the army alternate land on the outskirts of the city and asked them to hand over the place (plot occupied by the 2STC headquarters), but they are not doing it for years now," Parrikar said.Congress legislator from Dabolim Mauvin Godinho told Parrikar not to hand over land to the navy at the new greenfield airport being built at the Mopa plateau, 45 km north of here.

"I completely support the army and navy, but I cannot understand this possessive thing they have about land. This is not right. We will not give land for a naval enclave in Mopa. We will do it on a commercial basis," Parrikar said.


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