Juhu aerodrome runway plan to finally take off

The authorities responsible for proposed Juhu aerodrome runway and the Bandra-Versova Sea Link planned in the Arabian Sea, who had locked horns over the feasibility of the projects, have now sorted out their differences. The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has agreed to move the ambitious Bandra-Versova Sea Link (BVSL) project around 150 metres to 200 metres inside the sea and away from the proposed site of the 1,000-metre Juhu aerodrome runway.

Graphic/Amit Bandre

According to reports, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) wants to come up with the runway on stilts for the Juhu Aerodrome because it feels that this will help in decongesting the Mumbai Airport. However, the Sea Link - the plan of which was released before the AAI project - was allegedly causing issues as it was obstructing the proposed flight path.

The BVSL had recently received the environment clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). However, with the change in plans, the project cost will go up and MSRDC will have to change the alignment and a fresh proposal will have to be sent to MoEF. This will also delay the start of work.

“Recently, we had a discussion with AAI and told them that we will shift the Sea Link so that it does not cause any problem to the AAI plan,” a senior MSRDC said. “Both projects are important for the city and we will make sure that both projects take off. However, the cost of our project will increase and we will have to again get clearance from MoEF.”

The projects are not without any controversy. Many residents of western suburbs, environmentalists and local fishermen are opposing the proposed coastal road on the western side of Mumbai. They feel that it will disturb vital and sensitive coastal ecology and affect mangroves. The residents also claim that the scenic beauty of Juhu beach will be compromised. The distance between Bandra and Versova is approximately 10 km, and the cost of the Sea Link project will be around Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 3,600.

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