The proposed international airport at Navi Mumbai, touted as the solution to ease the congestion at Mumbai's existing airport, is in for a long haul.
There was no final decision on the proposed airport at the Centre's Expert Appraisal Committee on Wednesday, with the discussion on the project postponed to the next meeting.
The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report submitted by the project proponent, City and Industrial Development Corporation through independent agencies including IIT-Bombay, has to get a go-ahead from the committee before work can start.
Sources said the committee members asked state officials to explore the possibility of finding an alternative site for the airport. They said the state would have to prove scientifically why the Navi Mumbai site was essential.
However, state officials said that the discussion was preliminary. "The EIA report was not discussed. There were no differences of opinion over the need for an alternative airport for Mumbai. We felt that the outlook of the committee was positive," said TC Benjamin, urban development secretary.
The government, in the past, had refused to look for another site pointing out that 80 per cent of this land had been acquired.
The discussion was postponed due to lack of time since the airport was last on the committee's agenda. It will now be taken up next month, since the state officials are busy with legislature's monsoon session.