Amid the uncertainly about the proposed airport at Navi Mumbai, the state government on Friday set a December deadline for relocating, in the first phase, 8,000 hutments blocking expansion of the existing airport in the city.
This will allow the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) to build taxiways parallel to both the runways to accommodate more traffic.
Lawyer Godfrey Pimenta, representing slum dwellers, however, said he would move court if rehabilitation was not done as specified by the national rehabilitation and resettlement policy.
On Friday, CM Ashok Chavan and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel reviewed the rehabilitation plan and said those moved out would be relocated within 3 km of their present homes.
The suburban district's guardian minister Naseem Khan told HT that "We will have 8,000 housing units ready by December for allotment."
Chavan directed the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, nodal agency for rehabilitation, to conduct a fresh survey of hutments that were built before January 2000 on the land required for expansion.
The modernisation of the airport would take another three years to complete in a phased manner. There are about 80,000 hutments on the 276 acres that the entire project needs. Owners of those built in Kurla, Santacruz and Andheri (E) on or before January 1, 2000, are eligible for rehabilitation.
Once the 276 acres is cleared, 30,015,000 square feet would be opened up for redevelopment. The MIAL plans to promote luxury hotels and other commercial structures on this land.
The airport handles 2.5 million passengers annually and the numbers increase by around 6 lakh each year.