The new plan for the second airport, drawn up by the state government, will be ready before members of the Central Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) visit the airport site near Panvel on or around October 18.
The latest plan addresses the EAC’s two major concerns — that the diversion of the Gadhi river will flood Panvel city and that around 300 acres of mangroves in the non-aeronautical area will be destroyed.
To reduce the impact on mangroves in the non-aeronautical area — around 400 hectares - all activities such as cargo, hotels and other commercial services will be shifted to the south of the site. “We have identified land 10 km from the south boundary for this so there will be no such development in the north,” a senior government official told HT on Friday.
Sources in the state government said the diversion of the river had been a major issue and that two options were considered — one was shifting the entire runway 800 metres to the left, as the river is to the right of the airport.
However, the plan was abandoned as it would interfere with the national highway, railway line and the creek on the periphery of the airport.
The second option, of reducing the distance between the two runways by 250 metres, has now been finalised.
A stream of Ulwe river, however, will have to be diverted as it passes right through the proposed airport site.