The proposed Navi Mumbai international airport will face yet another hurdle early next month, when a two-member team of the National Board for Wildlife conducts a survey to check if the project could disturb the neighbouring Karnala bird sanctuary.
The committee, which is scheduled to visit the site in the first week of May, will have to submit its report before the meeting of standing committee of the board in June-July.
The committee’s approval is a must for any project that has a protected wildlife area within 10km of its site.
The visit assumes significance because the environment impact assessment report filed by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), the nodal agency for the proposed airport, had stated that the location of the airport was 12.5km from the Karnala bird sanctuary.
Kishor Rithe, president, Satpuda Foundation, told HT from Amravati that he would visit the site in the first week of May.
Dr Asad Rahmani, director of the Bombay Natural History Society and a member of the standing committee of the board that met on March 20, will not accompany Rithe, as he is conducting the avian fauna study for the airport project. “My presence in the team would amount to conflict of interest. Cidco is paying me. I have informed the Ministry of Environment and Forest about my unavailability,” Dr Rahmani said.
Rithe said that he would conduct the survey demanded by the board. “I don’t know about the other member. I have not received any communication from the board [in this context],” he said.
Cidco has received all required clearances except for the final approval to the forest clearance from the MoEF. The environment clearance came in November 2010. The agency expects to start the construction work within a year.