Second international airport for India’s business capital, Mumbai, got green clearance with a procedural glitch — Bombay high court’s permission will have to be taken to cut mangroves.
The 161 hectares of project area in Navi Mumbai is a mangrove belt and the court in January 2010 had termed them as forests. Its implication is that the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO), the project proponent, will have to seek approval of environment ministry’s Forest Advisory Committee to cut these forests, if court does not change its order.
“We will soon approach the court for necessary action,” Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said, along with environment minister Jairam Ramesh and aviation minister Praful Patel.
The proposed airport, which will cater to 20 million passengers when it becomes fully operational by 2016-17, had been caught in a year-long battle between Ramesh and Patel.
The comprise for the new airport at Navi Mumbai, as reported first by HT on November 8, is reduction of distance between two runaways to 1,555 meters from the proposed 1,800.
“The process for construction of the airport can start from today (Monday),” Ramesh said.
The airport in its first phase will be operational by 2014-15. “The ecological impact of the airport has been reduced by 80-90%,” he said.
Initially, 17 sites were examined, which were later zeroed down to three. “For various technical and non-technical reasons, the Navi Mumbai location became a fait accompli,” Ramesh said, in a statement.
Chavan outlined advantages of the new airport for Maharashtra saying it will create over one-lakh direct jobs and over four lakh indirect jobs, apart from easing pressure on present international airport at Santa Cruz.
The new airport will be constructed in Public Private Partnership model with CIDCO and Airport Authority of India each having 13 % stake. Already, 78% of the land, which would mean displacement of 3,000 families, has been acquired. “We will soon initiate the process to award the contract to a private party,” Patel said.