ELVIDIO MIRANDA, PANAJI
A high-profile public relations exercise by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Corbett National Park that was showcased and televised in 180 countries eulogising Indian nature and wildlife under the aegis of National Geographic has portrayed the Prime Minister as a lover of nature and wildlife. If the Prime Minister’s public relations exercise was from the heart, then let him to keep to the true spirit of the exercise scrap the construction of the Mopa airport, which is coming up on a huge area on the Mopa plateau that is not only endowed with trees such as mango, jackfruit and cashew as also many medicinal plants but also a wide variety of animals such as deer, civet cats, pangolins, wild boar, tiger, porcupines, bison and macaque as also 46 crystal-clear springs. Climate change is an important aspect and the Mopa plateau with 54,676 trees has absolutely no carbon footprint, but on the contrary is a carbon sink in which the air is replenished with oxygen by assimilating carbon dioxide through the process of photosynthesis in the plants there. Let the Prime Minister pledge his love for nature by shifting the Mopa airport to another location in neighbouring Maharashtra or Karnataka in an arid area. If the Prime Minister really loves nature and the shooting coincidentally was done on February 14 this year, that is Valentine’s Day, he can gain the confidence of the nature lovers. The many trekkers, hikers and adventure sports aficionados should rally behind the movement for the scrapping of the Mopa airport as a mark of solidarity with the peasants of Mopa and demonstrate against the project at Mopa, which as an area is an extension of the Western Ghats and a United Nations conservation area. Save Mopa, save tourism in Goa.