In an exclusive interview with MiD DAY, CIDCO’s Managing Director and Vice-Chairperson, Sanjay Bhatia, talks about the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) project and the challenges they’ve overcome in 2013
When can we expect the first flight to take off from the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA)?
Actual flights can be expected from 2018, as it’ll primarily take one year to complete the Request for Qualification (RFQ) process. We have started the process of inviting tenders for hill cutting, filling of airport area, etc. Hopefully, the work will begin by October-November this year. Unlike other airports where the partner is asked to get the clearances, we will be providing a Greenfield levelled land with all sanctions in place. The construction should take three years and we can expect the first flight to take off in 2018. Phase I will have 10 million passengers per annum.
Man in charge: CIDCO MD Sanjay Bhatia talks about the issues faced by the town planning body in 2013 for the NMIA project and the future of the airport. Pic/Bipin Kokate
How many jobs is the airport expecting to generate?
About 1.25 lakh; direct and indirect employment is expected.
The issue of RFQ has set the ball rolling. What next?
We have invited global tenders till June this year; interested parties/consortia can send their application. A technical committee has been set up, headed by Joint Managing Director, V Radha, along with other technical experts who will choose the most qualified parties. They will be asked to send the Request for Proposal (RFP) in another 2-3 months. We will finalise the bidder based on their offer and the approval from the Maharashtra government. The entire process should take about a year.
2013 was an important year for the NMIA project, with many clearances coming in...
Definitely. However, while environmental clearances have come in, it is difficult to go ahead until the land issue is resolved. When we entered 2013, V Radha and I aimed to resolve the issue, as even the Civil Aviation Ministry had stated that until it was not settled, at least partly, we couldn’t invite the RFQ. Our first step was to negotiate with the Project Affected Persons (PAPs). After an intensive round of discussions for 5-6 months, the PAPs were finally ready to discuss with the CM, their compensation. In November 2013, a high-level meeting was called with the CM and representatives from every village, including the ones opposing the compensation. In the negotiation, the villagers received a Floor Space Index (FSI) of two instead of one, and shareholding in the project. They finalised their package. We were happy with the final decision.
The last two months of 2013 were crucial for CIDCO.
Yes, after the finalisation of the compensation package, we approached the Civil Aviation Ministry and got the RFQ approved. However, we informed them about the five villages that are still opposing the compensation.
What measures are you planning to put in place for the opposing villages?
The compensation package cannot be changed. However, had it been a small issue, I would have resolved it from my end. Nevertheless, I have spoken to the Sangharsha Committee, who have assured us that they will get the opposing villages on board. About a month back, we’ve had a three-hour session with the villagers, who, by the end of the meeting, seemed satisfied. We hope that the committee will talk to them and resolve the issue.
The villagers opposing the package occupy a crucial portion of the land. Isn’t the land a core area where the runway is planned to be built?
Yes, the land is vital and we will be needing the villagers to be on board for the project. However, the PAP leaders have assured us that they will be able to convince the opposing villagers. I’m assuming that they have not been able to comprehend the compensation package. The land comes under the Coastal Regulation Zone that will serve no value to them.
Will Navi Mumbai airport be on the lines of the Terminal 2 of Mumbai international airport?
I believe that NMIA will be better than T2, which had many land constraints. Our airport will be the largest in the country.
The proposed NMIA will be situated on the National Highway-4B, near Panvel, approximately 35 kms from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.
Ra 14,547 crore
Estimated project cost
Steps to enhance airport connectivity
>> Proposed Virar-Alibaug multi-model corridor
>> Proposed CST-Panvel fast suburban rail corridor
>> Proposed Ghatkopar-Mankurd-Vashi-NMIA-Panvel Metro corridor
>> Amra Marg to be widened to eight lanes with service lanes on either side
>> Sion-Panvel expressway widened to 10 lanes by the Maharashtra PWD
MPPA: million passengers per annum; *Cost of Phase I includes pre-development work, like recoursing Ulwe river that will cost Rs 2,358 crore