Mumbai’s second airport finally takes wing, work to start in Navi Mumbai in January 2018mumbai Updated: Oct 25, 2017 09:26 IST
The project, which was conceived in 1997, got an in-principle nod from the Centre in July 2007.(Bachchan Kumar)
Twenty years, multiple permissions and hurdles later, construction of the Navi Mumbai international airport – the much-needed second airport for a city like Mumbai -- is all set to start in January 2018.
The state government on Tuesday approved the handing over of the work to GVK. The City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), the nodal agency for the project, aims to complete the first stage of the airport by December 2019. “With the state cabinet nod, Cidco will issue a letter of award [official document confirming selection for the contract] to GVK in a week. A concessionare agreement will be signed with the contractor. We have the draft for it ready,” said Mohan Ninawe, senior public relations officer, Cidco.
Cidco officials said the constant delays gave them enough time to be ready with the documentation. “Within 180 days, the contractor will have to tell Cidco how it plans to get Rs4,500-crore needed for the first stage of the project. GVK will have to give details of the financial institutions and funding sources. They can submit it in 30 days too,” said Ninawe.
“We are hopeful that the entire process will be completed within the next two months. The bhoomipujan is likely to be performed on January 1, 2018. We are confident the first stage will be completed by December 2019,” said Ninawe.
The project, which was conceived in 1997, got an in-principle nod from the Centre in July 2007. Cidco floated global tenders for the work in September 2007 and planned to start construction by July 2008. Environment hurdles, opposition from locals and demand for high compensation delayed the project for years, ensuring the bidding process started only in 2014. The bids were opened in 2016, with GVK emerging as the highest bidder in 2017.
The time taken by GVK will decide the pace of the work, according to Cidco officials. “It depends on how early GVK completes the formalities of forming a company with CIDCO, which will be called Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited, on the lines of MIAL, and the financial closure. While bhoomipujan will be conducted early, the construction could begin by May, if the company delays the process.”