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New site closer to approval

The proposed Navi Mumbai airport that is waiting for environment clearance from the Centre inched closer to getting the final go-ahead on Thursday.

mumbai Updated: Sep 10, 2010 01:37 IST
Ketaki Ghoge

The proposed Navi Mumbai airport that is waiting for environment clearance from the Centre inched closer to getting the final go-ahead on Thursday.

Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) cleared the coastal zone map of the green field airport as submitted by City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO). The state's coastal authority will recommend approval of these maps to the Centre.

This was one of the necessary compliances sought by the Centre's Expert Appraisal Committee that is scrutinising the airport project.

The committee had asked CIDCO to submit CRZ map with 1:4,000 resolution indicating high tide line and superimposing the airport's lay out plan on this. It had asked CIDCO to get fresh recommendation on this map by the MCZMA.

This was sought to get clearer information of the topography of the airport site, to delineate CRZ I area, mangrove cover, tidal mud flats. CIDCO had got the latest coastal zone maps done by Anna University.

Earlier, CIDCO had coastal zone plans dating to 1996 and with a resolution of 1:60,000; the authority had this zoomed to a better resolution but the EAC demanded latest data.

"MCZMA noted that CRZ area, in fact, had increased by 100 hectares if one compares the new maps with the earlier map. Also, some of the mangrove cover that will be affected are sparse," said a member of the MCZMA on condition of anonymity.

The official said that in exchange CIDCO has offered to plan a buffer zone of dense mangroves around the airport site.

The state government will send all reports, additional information and compliances sought by the EAC on September 14 to be better prepared for the EAC meeting on September 22.

The EAC had suggested off-shore airport facilities be shifted to the southern side of the airport to save mangrove covered and lagoon area. It had also suggested that northern side runway be shifted 50-100 m to avoid diversion of Gadhi river.

The state government has said it cannot shift runways and there is no choice but to divert rivers.