The Adarsh society scam has plans for heliports in Mumbai.
The state government’s ambitious plans of setting up heliports to ferry commuters across town has failed to take off because clearances from the defence ministry have become difficult following the Adarsh scam.
The 31-storeyed Colaba tower was initially promoted as a housing society for war widows and veterans but flats were allotted to politicians, bureaucrats and military commanders. One of the allegations against the society was that it had given bureaucrats and politicians flats in return for project clearances. The society has also been accused of violating environmental norms.
The state government in December last year had mooted a plan to set up heliports in Mumbai. Heliports are small airports suitable only for helicopters.
A heliport may contain one or more helipads. Tenders were to be floated by early 2011.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has claimed that after the Adarsh scam the state government is reluctant to approach defence forces for clearances.
“Clearances for the project are still pending. The state government is now going easy on projects that require clearances from the defence,” a senior state government official, who is handling the project, said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The MMRDA was asked to conduct a feasibility study for the project. The inter-departmental committee, formed for the project and headed by the chief secretary, had asked the MMRDA to build heliports at Nariman Point and Navi Mumbai. A plan of action for getting regulatory clearances from the Navy, director general of civil aviation and the environmental ministry was also finalised.
A heliport was to come up at Nariman Point near the proposed water transport jetty while the other one was to come up in Nerul’s sector 30 at Navi Mumbai.
Mumbai has helipads at Mahalaxmi Race Course, used for private helicopters, at Raj Bhavan, used by the governor and heads of states, and at INS Kunjali at Colaba for defence purposes.
The city sees and average of 10 helicopter landings at Mahalaxmi Race Course every day. This number could increase with more helipads.