The civil aviation department’s proposal for a heliport each at Mumbai and Navi Mumbai was sent back by the state cabinet on Wednesday. Department officials were asked to get approvals from the Centre first. The heliports had been proposed to meet the city’s growing demand for chopper services.
The cabinet suggested that the department look at other sites to set up the heliports, as both the sites mentioned in the proposal were in the vicinity of defence establishments.
The Nariman Point heliport is close to the INS Kunjali naval base, while the Navi Mumbai heliport is close to Indian Air Force’s missile testing centre and T S Chanakya.
“What’s the point of bringing these proposals when everyone knows it is very difficult to get no-objection certificates from the defence and the ministry of environment and forests?’’ said a senior cabinet minister who did not wish to be named.
The minister added that the Mahalaxmi Race Course, where there is already an existing helipad for private landings and the site near the MSRDC office at Priyadarshani Park could be considered as options.
The minister also said the budget for the heliports, at around Rs 156 crore, was over the top.
Nandkumar Jantre, secretary of civil aviation department, said, “We will move for approvals from MoD and MoEF on a priority basis.”