The Navi Mumbai airport is a large step closer to becoming a reality.
The project has been in limbo as the Union Environment Ministry has held back clearances fearing large-scale ecological damage. Last month, it suggested some changes to the plan — such as moving the commercial zone that would house hotels and cargo bays to the south, thus saving 400 hectares of mangroves.
On Monday, project consultant Louis Berger Group told the state government that the changes were feasible without affecting passenger and aircraft capacity.
On September 25, Hindustan Times reported that the state would tweak the plan as per the recommendations of a central experts’ committee, by reducing the distance between the runways, moving the project away from the Gadhi river and eliminating the need for its diversion.
The consultants altered the project maps and presented them to the state government.
“The new plan will be sent to the Centre on October 10. The experts’ panel will visit the site after October 18,” said City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) Director Tanaji Satre. CIDCO is the project’s nodal agency.
“Despite the changes, we will handle 60 million passengers a year by 2030-31; there will be parking space for 101 aircraft,” said TC Benjamin, principal secretary, Urban Development.
Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had said in August that the Gadhi’s diversion, the destruction of mangroves and the flattening of a hillock were major issues.
The new plan takes care of the first two concerns.
As for the hillock, the state pointed out to the centre that it is being quarried and there would be no extra ecological damage caused by its flattening.