There have been doubts about whether the Navi Mumbai airport canmeet its 2014 deadline since several permissions, as well as the rehabilitation of villagers, are pending. But City and Industrial Corporation Joint Managing Director Tanaji Satre said all deadlines would be met.
Now that environmental sanction has come through, what’s next for the Navi Mumbai airport?
The environmental clearance was a milestone. Environmental issues need to be addressed and we did that. We also got defence clearance. There are two other clearances we must get.
One is from the Forest Department because mangroves are considered forestland and the other is from the high court for cutting mangroves. Then, there are issues of land acquisition, rehabilitation of project-affected people, documentation for the master plan and for selecting a partner.
What is the status of the permissions?
We have already asked for Alibaug’s deputy conservator of forests’ permission. We have also prepared the application to be submitted to the high court. It will be done on a priority basis.
Land is yet to be acquired ?
The total area is 2020 hectares. Of this, we have 1,333 hectares. We have to acquire 424 hectares of private land. Proposals to acquire 250 hectares have been sent to the collector and he has issued acquisition notices. We have also applied to the state government for transfer of about 263 hectares from CIDCO. This will be done in due course.
The locals have raised several concerns.
We will have to rehabilitate 3,000 families. The package we have prepared is even better than those given by the state and the Central governments. The highlights include giving villagers developed land, money for houses, job training and even the possibility of a share in the project.
The villagers say they don’t trust CIDCO as past promises were not kept.
It’s different now. We have already identified three sites where villagers will be resettled. These are Vadghar (87 hectares), Dapoli (55 hectares) and Vahad (40 hectares), which are close to their present houses. We are confident of convincing the villagers.
What about the documentation?
Work on the bid document has begun. Our consultants, Louis Berger, are preparing a master plan and a project report.
Hopefully, by May-June 2011, we will select the developer. The airport will be developed through a public-private participation. CIDCO will hold 15% equity, Airports Authority of India 13% and the developer the rest.
We expect financial closure by October-November 2011. Construction should begin soon after that.
What about supporting infrastructure?
We are working out which activities we will take up and which will be done through a special purpose company. These include roads, a Metro, rail connectivity, the mangrove park, waterfront development, etc.
Vital connectivity, such as the Metro and the Sewri-Nhava sea link, is missing.
The airport will need these links. We will discuss with MMRDA the extension of the Metro from Mankhurd to Navi Mumbai. The sea link issue too will be resolved. The chief minister announced it has to be done and that he will ensure it happens.
With so much to do, will you manage to start construction by the end of next year?
Seeking of permissions and the groundwork will take place simultaneously. We are confident of starting work by October-November 2011. There will be hurdles, but we shall overcome them.
The first phase will be ready by the end of 2014. We are ready for take-off.