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How to cut a hill to make an airport

CIDCO is mulling over the use of latest technology to cut down the hill at the site for Navi Mumbai airport; actual work may start by December 2012
 
After getting green signals from almost all government quarters, the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (CIDCO) has hastened work on the proposed international airport at Navi Mumbai. Although the developmental body is yet to receive environmental clearance from the State Forest Department, it is confident of securing it in the next couple of months.


Tall order: One of the major hurdles in the commencement of the
airport work is the 90-meter-tall hill on the proposed site


90-metre hurdle
One of the major hurdles in the commencement of the airport work is the 90-meter-tall hill on the proposed site, which the CIDCO will have to cut down. To do so, it has even appointed a private agency to examine the feasibility of the process of hill cutting.

Soma Vijaykumar, chief general manager (Transport and Airport), CIDCO, said, "After getting environmental clearance from the Union Ministry for Environment and Forest (MoEF), we expedited the process of examining methods to cut the 90-meter-tall hill. Our consultant company, Consulting Engineering Services, has been working to check out the suitable methodology for hill cutting and reclamation/filling work for land development. The firm is expected to submit its report very soon. So we will start hill cutting shortly, followed by the levelling of the airport site, making way for the construction work to commence."

Going hi-tech
While the CIDCO is mulling over use of advanced technology to cut down the hill, it is likely to float a tender for the same in the coming months. "We are chalking out a plan to use advanced bomb blasting technology to cut the hill. Using this technology, we'll be able to finish work in little time, but with good results. Bids for cutting the hill will be invited in the next two months," said Vijaykumar.

December 2012
Besides, CIDCO was expected to call global bidders for the construction of the airport in November, but it will now be done by January 2012. "We are done with paperwork and are expected to float tenders by January-end. The entire process is likely to take around six months and the contractor will take another three to four months to study the project. So, the actual construction work will start only by December 2012."

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