Pressure is mounting on the Centre to get the Navi Mumbai airport, touted as the solution to Mumbai’s air congestion woes, off the ground.
A group of Parliamentarians from the state met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday to push for the airport, while the Union Civil Aviation Ministry issued a statement saying any further delay in starting the project would have a cascading effect on connectivity to Mumbai and the growth of the country’s economy.
The project has been stalled because of environmental concerns.
Singh assured the MPs that he would intervene to end the deadlock over the issue.
The delegation, including Congress MPs Milind Deora, Priya Dutt, and Pratik Patil, NCP MPs Supriya Sule, Sanjeev Naik, and Sanjay Patil, and Sena MPs Gajanan Babbar and Anand Paranjpe, emphasised the importance of a second airport for Mumbai.
Deora, who led the delegation, said, “Even the PM was surprised that the project has not yet taken off. It has been delayed despite an earlier clearance from the PM. This is unacceptable.”
Sule told HT that the Prime Minister assured them he would intervene by speaking to officials in the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
MoEF Minister Jairam Ramesh had recently pointed to the damage the project would cause to the environment and asked the state to consider alternative sites. The airport will lead to the clearing of 150 hectares of mangroves, the diverting of two rivers, and the flattening of a hillock.