After going back and forth on three locations, the government is likely to finalise a new site at Purandar in Pune district for the proposed international airport. Officials from the Airport Authority of India 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 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 technical feasibility survey of the location for the proposed airport. Earlier, officials had visited the villages to conduct a preliminary survey on September 3 after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis gave a push.
According to Vishwas Patil, deputy chairman, MADC, there is enough availability of land in Purandar and the villagers are unlikely to oppose the land 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 ground-level obstacle survey is completed, a feasibility report will be submitted within a week.
As the state government keeps changing the sites, many who bought land at a higher rate anticipating growth in the future will suffer losses.
The plan to build 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 acquired without opposition from the farmers.
In Chakan and Rajgurunagar, the government, despite the opposition from local villagers, carried out an inspection of the land, but realised that to built an airport, at least 1,800-hectare of land will be required. Officials from the district administration said, the land available in Khed taluka is spread over 1400-hectare, which according to the Airports Authority of India (AAI), was inadequate.
The mere proposal had pushed land prices at Rajguru nagar and Chakan, with many buying the 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, land prices will crash,” said Sachin Barhate, a local farmer.