A day after the Navi Mumbai airport got the green nod, the state and Centre began work on a plan to get it operational as early as possible as the project has already been delayed and the existing airport has reached saturation levels.
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told HT on Tuesday that his ministry and the state were planning to expedite the project by crunching the earlier plan into two phases (instead of four), so that the airport could reach its ultimate potential of handling 60 million passengers a year much before the 2031 deadline. Moreover, there would be attempts to open the airport by 2015 with the ability to absorb 20 million passengers a year, as against 10 m planned earlier.
“It is possible to expedite the project so as to reach the target of 60 million passengers by 2025 instead of 2031,” Patel said.
The 20-year construction period may be reduced. “A 20-year period is too long for a capacity of 60 million passengers per annum. The state is open to compressing the construction period, but we need a go-ahead from the civil aviation department,” the state’s urban development secretary T C Benjamin said.
The government is looking at starting the bidding process by May 2011, and actual construction by December 2011. There are still clearances that Cidco, the implementing agency for the project, has to get. “We will now have to get three permissions. These are from the Forest department under the Indian Forest Act, from Defence and one permission from the Environment Ministry,” Cidco public relations officer Mohan Ninawe said. (Inputs by G Mohiuddin Jeddy)