Juhu airport developers had told the state government to factor in its plans the extension of the runway into the sea while designing the Versova-Bandra sea link. But the state may have ignored the warning because its land records show the Juhu airport as “recreational area”.
The issue came to light through a letter sent by the civil aviation ministry asking the state to alter its plan for the high-speed corridor proposed to ease traffic between the suburbs.
In the letter accessed by HT, the civil aviation secretary KN Srivastav stated that KPMG, an aviation consultancy firm engaged for Juhu's expansion, had informed the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) that the Juhu runway would be extended towards the sea and that it should be kept in mind while planning the sea link, which took place in 2010.
The aviation ministry wants to extend Juhu's main runway by 750m so that it can accommodate small planes, corporate jets and helicopters.
However, in August 2011, the government approved the route wherein the sea link would pass 900m from the Juhu coastline, which could thwart the runway extension plans.
MSRDC's planners Ms Pantacle had proposed two more alignments for the sea link, but the state chose the one conflicting with Juhu's growth citing that there were no plans for expansion.
“Now both projects are stuck because of to poor planning,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official.
The issue has assumed momentum after civil aviation minister Ajit Singh suggested augmentation of Juhu airport. Now the civil aviation ministry has asked the state to build a tunnel beneath Juhu beach for the sea link. A meeting is scheduled on Friday to discuss the issues.