The City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) is hopeful that few changes it has made in its plans may help the Navi Mumbai airport get a green signal from the Centre, a few environment concerns remain.
The Centre’s Environmental Experts Appraisal Committee (EAC), with state government and Cidco officials, spent more than an hour on Wednesday inspecting the 1,200-hectare site earmarked for the Navi Mumbai airport.
The concerns on destruction of mangroves, the razing of the 82-metre hillock, the rehabilitation of villagers and the diversion of Ulwe River will be discussed in the EAC meeting on Thursday.
The team stopped at the 82-metre hillock at Ulwe, which the plan proposes to flatten, at Varchavale hamlet near Ulwe, and at the Ulwe bridge, where the river is going to be diverted. It also visited the site where mudflats and mangroves will be cleared to make way for runways and at the boundary of Vaghivali village across the Gadhi River.
The EAC meeting to be held at the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) office on Thursday has the proposal of the Navi Mumbai airport on its agenda.
The committee, in its meeting in July, had expressed concern over the diversions of Gadhi and Ulwe rivers, the flattening of the hillock and the clearing of mangroves, and had asked the Cidco change the plan.
The Hindustan Times had reported on September 25 that the state had agreed not to divert Gadhi River and to save mangroves by shifting the commercial area from the north to the south of the main site. “We are hopeful that the Gadhi will be saved from diversion,” said Naresh Dayal, chairman of the committee.
Villagers of Vaghivali hamlet were waiting for the committee to visit them, but the Cidco’s new plan shows this village as located in the commercial zone to the north of the main site, which is going to be moved to the south.