Congress, NCP await airport’s political dividend | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Congress, NCP await airport’s political dividend

The clearance for the city’s second airport has brought smiles to the faces of Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders.

mumbai Updated: Nov 23, 2010 02:23 IST
HT Correspondent

The clearance for the city’s second airport has brought smiles to the faces of Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders.

Both parties plan to portray this as one of their major achievements, one that will impact not just the city but the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), one of the world’s largest urban agglomerations. It will boost industries, especially the services sector in the Thane-Navi Mumbai-Raigad belt. It will also provide about 1 lakh jobs at the airport and related establishments.

The MMR accounts for more than 60 seats in the state’s 288-member Legislative Assembly and the region would play a major role in deciding the success of political parties in the years to come.

Little wonder that the NCP led the celebrations in Vashi on Monday. Firecrackers were burst and sweets were distributed. Sandeep Naik, MLA from Airoli, said: “The approval is a historic decision. It will boost Navi Mumbai’s economy and benefit all industries here.”

For Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, this is his first major announcement after taking over earlier this month, though most of the spadework was done by his predecessor Ashok Chavan and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel. Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh pointed this out while speaking to the media in Delhi.

South Mumbai MP Milind Deora, who had led a delegation of young MPs to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his intervention for early clearance of the project, said: “Now the state government and the Ministry of Civil Aviation should build the airport quickly.”

Deora pointed out that the project had already been delayed and people wanted congestion at the existing airport to reduce at the earliest. “The government should ensure that a private partner is selected soon and the airport is built on time,” he said.

NCP MP from Baramati Supriya Sule said: “We are grateful to Ramesh and Patel. This would mean air travel to and from Mumbai would get better. For us, the next step is an international airport at Pune.”