Acting on the Mumbai airport operator’s concern about delay in completing the integrated terminal in Sahar, the government has decided to set up a special task force to speed up the relocation of slums around the airport.
According to airport officials, two arms of the X-shaped terminal, which will cater to both domestic and international passengers, cannot come up unless the hutment dwellers are relocated. The decision was taken on Monday after civil aviation minister Ajit Singh and Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan surveyed the site of the upcoming terminal named T2. Before visiting the site, both the ministers took an aerial tour of the airport to understand its space constraints.
“We will form a task force to expedite the process,” said Chavan, but refused to give a deadline for completing the project that is running behind schedule. With air traffic in the city increasing steadily, the ministers also discussed expanding infrastructure at the Juhu aerodrome to decongest the city airport. Chavan also mentioned the setting up of a committee to study options to utilise the airport at Juhu better, but refused to elaborate on the plan citing that an election code of conduct had come into effect from Sunday.
A feasibility study on the Juhu aerodrome by aviation consultancy firm KPMG in 2010 stated that the airstrip could ease the airport’s traffic load if its runway was extended by another 900 metres, but the plan did not take off.