Officials from the state government and City and Industrial Development Corp-oration (CIDCO) met again on Thursday at the state secretariat to fine-tune plans for a strong case for the Navi Mumbai airport at the Centre’s Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) next week.
The committee, in its last meeting in August, had asked CIDCO to re-work the proposed plan that covers two zones — the proposed airport site and another one northward that is for non-aeronautical activities.
EAC had asked CIDCO to consider shifting this non-aeronautical site in the north, spread across 400 hectares consisting of mangroves, landwards away from the seaside to minimise ecological damage.
CIDCO has conceded to this demand and has agreed to contain all its requisite and basic non-aeronautical activities within 60 hectares of land in the north. This includes basic offices for CISF, Customs and cargo. The remaining of the 400-hectare proposed commercial zone will be shifted to the southern site in scattered plots.
HT had first reported on this formula on August 22.
With the change in plan, the Gadhi or Kalundri River will not require diversion but straightening. The Gadhi River, which is on the periphery, was to be diverted to make space for the non-aeronautical area of the airport.
“This is the maximum that can be done. We hope that EAC is convinced with this,” said a senior government official.
However, Ulwe River will have to be diverted since it runs across the centre of the proposed airport site to make way for the runways.
CIDCO said the 80-m high hillock has been declared as a quarry site and is being flattened for the last couple of years.
The state hopes to impress on the EAC, its plan to plant a mangrove-buffer zone around the airport and plant indigenous mangroves apart from afforestation at Dahanu and Palghar sites in Thane district.
CIDCO officials will also impress upon the EAC members to undertake a site visit to check ground realities.