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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Navi Mumbai airport stuck as farmers refuse to settle for less

Saurabh Katkurwar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 03, 2013
First Published: 01:01 IST(3/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:02 IST(3/4/2013)

It will be easily five to six years before you will be able to take a flight out of Navi Mumbai airport as the project is facing delays because of land acquisition problems.

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For the past one year, the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), the project’s nodal agency, has been struggling to resolve the compensation issue related to the 291 hectares of private land that has to be acquired from farmers in 18 villages.

The project affected people (PAP) have demanded Rs20 crore for every acre of land or 35% of developed land as compensation. According to Cidco, the project will become financially unviable if it meets these demands.

RC Gharat, representative of the PAP, said: “What we have demanded is as per the market rates. Cidco officials have offered us 22.5% of developed land. We have rejected the offer.”

Six months ago, Cidco sent the Request for Qualification (RFQ) documents to the Union civil aviation ministry for approval, which is mandatory to float tenders. However, Cidco will have to resolve the land acquisition issue to get the approval. “Even if we resolve the land acquisition issue in one year’s time and get approval to RFQ documents, we will need one more year to finish the tendering process as it involves complex procedures,” said a Cidco official, requesting anonymity. “Construction will not start before end of 2015.”

Officials said the first phase of the airport would take three years, so the airport is not likely to be operational before 2018.
Cidco has obtained environmental clearance in November 2010, but it is still waiting for final approval for forest clearance from the Union environment ministry.

This approval, say Cidco officials, is likely to take another four to six months as the ministry has several queries. “Officials have queries that will have to be addressed.”


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