Farmers in the Kalyan-Ambarnath belt have opposed the proposal to shift the second airport to Nevali, near Kalyan, from its current site near Panvel.
Last Friday, parliamentarians across party lines - Anand Paranjpe (Shiv Sena, Kalyan), Suresh Taware (Congress, Bhiwandi) and Baliram Jadhav (Bahujan Samaj Aghadi-Congress, Palghar) - had opposed the airport site near Panvel and recommended the Kalyan site to Union Minister of Environment and Forests (MoEF) Jairam Ramesh.
However, on Wednesday, Jagannath Patil, former BJP legislator and head of Save Land Action Committee, said farmers in the region would not give up even an inch of land for the airport. “We will move the high court if need be. The new airport will need more land than what is available. The project, if approved, will affect 22,000 farmers from 18 villages in the vicinity,” he said.
While MPs from Thane district, excluding the Nationalist Congress Party’s Sanjeev Naik, have demanded that the project be moved to Kalyan, their counterparts in Mumbai and Raigad have asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to expedite the existing Panvel plan. Now, a BJP leader has opposed the Kalyan plan.
Thane MPs and NGOs such as the Bombay Environmental Action Group have argued that the Navi Mumbai site is environmentally and economically unviable.
Ramesh had asked an expert group to assess alternative sites, and they have suggested Nevali.
An old airstrip owned by the defence ministry is located on around 800 hectares of land in Nevali, 50 km north of Mumbai. The strip was built during World War II by the then British government. The Rs 10,000-crore Panvel project is expected to be built on 1,140 hectares of land.