The Experts Appraisal Committee’s visit to inspect the site of the second airport in Navi Mumbai will play a major role in deciding whether airport will come up at the present site.
The committee will convey its observations to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, which will then decide the fate of the project. The state government has said it will alter the project plans to address the Centre’s environment concerns. The Hindustan Times had reported on September 25 that the state had said it would reduce the distance between the runways and save the Gadhi River from being diverted. It has also decided to shift the non-aeronautical area to the south of the proposed site at Panvel. The issues of diverting Ulwe River and flattening the hillock, however, remain unresolved.
Union environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, had expressed reservations about the project saying the diversion of the Ulwe and Gadhi rivers, the loss of a 400-acre mangrove cover and the razing of an 80-m-high hillock on the site were causes for concern. He had asked the state to change the plan or shift the airport to Kalyan.