After going back and forth on three locations, the government is likely to finalise a new site at Purandar in Pune for the proposed international airport.
Officials from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and the Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) inspected the site for the second time this month and are expected to submit a technical report within a fortnight.
In the past, the government had assessed locations for the airport near Khed, Chakan and Rajgurunagar.
The team comprising 15 officials on Sunday visited Pargaon Memane, Rajewadi, Waghapur, Ambodi, Pisarve, Rajodi, Jejuri and Saswad villages for a survey of the location for the proposed airport. Earlier, they had visited the villages to conduct a preliminary survey on September 3 after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis gave them a push.
According to Vishwas Patil, deputy chairman, MADC, there is land available in Purandar and the villagers are unlikely to oppose its acquisition. “A team will once again visit the site within a week to conduct a ground-level obstacle survey,” Patil said.
According to district collector Saurabh Rao, the site at Purandar meets all the technical parameters required to build runways. Sources said once the survey is completed, a feasibility report will be submitted within a week.
The plan to build a new international airport near Pune has been in the pipeline for more than 12 years, without much progress because of the want of suitable land that can be acquired without opposition from farmers.
In Chakan and Rajgurunagar, the government, despite opposition from local villagers, carried out an inspection of the land, but realised that, at least 1,800-hectares of land will be required for the purpose. Officials from the district administration said the land available in Khed taluka is spread over 1400-hectare, which, according to the AAI, was inadequate.
The mere proposal had pushed land prices at Rajgurunagar and Chakan, with many buying land from farmers at higher rates, anticipating higher returns.
“I bought land near Chakan three years ago paying double the rate that was going in the previous year thinking the value of the property will soar further once construction for the airport starts. However, with the government shifting its location, I am afraid that land prices will crash,” said Sachin Barhate, a local farmer.