State will take back five airports from Anil Ambani firm: Fadnavis | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

State will take back five airports from Anil Ambani firm: Fadnavis

Jul 22, 2023 12:54 AM IST

The state government of Maharashtra is taking back five airports from Reliance Airport Developers due to non-functionality and failure to pay dues. The government plans to pay the outstanding dues and recover the amount from the company. The government also aims to improve regional connectivity by acquiring more slots at Mumbai airport and forming a nodal agency for airport development. They also plan to build a helipad in each taluka and expect the Navi Mumbai airport to start operations in August 2024.

Mumbai: The state government is going to take back five airports—Baramati, Nanded, Latur, Yavatmal and Osmanabad—from the Reliance Airport Developers Private Limited (RADPL), deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced in the Assembly.

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The airports were awarded to RADPL, a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure led by Anil Ambani, for a period of 30 years in 2009. The firm was supposed to develop the airports and start operations, but all the five airports are not functioning currently.

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“RADPL is not doing maintenance of the airports and even not paying the statutory dues because of which Nanded airport was shut down. We will discuss the legalities of taking possession of the airports with the advocate general. The state government will also pay all the dues for the five airports and recover the amount from the firm,” the deputy chief minister said.

Fadnavis was responding to the issue of regional connectivity that came for discussion through attention motion. Senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan said that the state has around 32 airports and airstrips, of them only 11 are functional, which is affecting the plans of regional connectivity.

“Even the Mumbai airport is not giving enough slots for flights to major cities, which has made intra state traveling difficult,” Chavan told the lower House. He also pointed out that the Nanded airport was shut for quite some time.

Replying to this, Fadnavis said, “To improve regional connectivity, the government will try to get more slots at the Mumbai airport. It will soon have a high-level meeting with the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) officials and would direct them to provide more slots for major cities of the state.”

Admitting that there is a need to have one nodal agency to look after the development of the airports, Fadnavis declared to form it soon. The five airports with the RADPL were earlier with the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), while the rest are with the Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC).

Fadnavis told the lower House that the government has decided to build one helipad each in all the talukas (tehsil) and for which they have formed a committee to inspect technical feasibility of the spots. “The committee will travel to all the talukas and see if they have required space for a chopper to take off,” he stated.


Navi Mumbai airport likely to start by next August

Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis informed the lower House that the Navi Mumbai airport will start operations from next year. “We were preparing to start the operations from December next year, but we have asked the authorities to start it from August, 2024,” he said.

He said that the issue of regional connectivity will be resolved once the Navi Mumbai airport is functional as there will be no issue of prime slots. “The chief minister (Eknath Shinde) and I visited the airport recently. The runway is ready and after the monsoon, its final coating will be completed. The work of the terminal building is also happening on a war footing.”

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    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

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