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Juhu airport may disturb key projects

If the plan to construct the Juhu airport runway across the Arabian sea gets a nod, two major infrastructure projects — the ambitious coastal road project and the Bandra Versova sealink project — might not see the light of the day. According to transport experts, the alignment of these projects will overlap with each other.


An aerial view of the Juhu airport runway. File pic

An official from MSRDC, requesting anonymity said, “If the runway is constructed in the Arabian Sea, we will have to make certain changes in our design or our project alignment may overlap with the proposed runway alignment.”

Speaking to Sunday Mid Day, transport expert Jitendra Gupta said, “It seems there is a lack of coordination between various government agencies because if a runway on stilts is constructed on the Arabian Sea in Juhu, there are chances that it may overlap with the proposed coastal road project of BMC and the proposed Bandra-Versova sealink.”

Gupta added that rather than wasting public money in surveys and appointing consultants, the agencies involved in all the three projects should sit and discuss the plans so that further problems can be solved.

Mid Day, in its July 16 edition, published a story (‘Juhu airport to get a runway on stilts’) which stated that Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh, confirmed that a task force under the chairmanship of CM Prithviraj Chavan had been set up to develop Juhu airport and the runway will be extended by 877 metres by constructing stilts.

The MSRDC already has plans to extend the Bandra-Worli sealink up to Versova from Bandra. The sealink has got clearance from the state government and if the construction starts, the project will overlap with the proposed alignment of the runway.

According to estimates made three to four years ago, the MSRDC will have to spend Rs 3,600 crore for the BVSL project.

Another project that may have to face hurdles is the ambitious coastal road project. The proposed coastal road project, too, will be a few metres away from Juhu beach. The state government has plans to construct a 35.6 km-long coastal road between Nariman Point and Kandivli, which runs parallel to the coast.

Many residents of the western suburbs and environmentalists are opposing the proposed coastal road on the western side of Mumbai. They feel it will disturb the vital and sensitive coastal ecology and severely affect the mangroves. They also claim that the scenic vistas and recreational areas will be a negative impact due to the construction.

Fishy business
Maharashtra Machhimar Vikas Sangh has also opposed the proposed runway. The office bearers of the association feel that whenever the state or central government take up projects, they do not consider the adverse impact they will have on the fishing activity and business. The association plans to move court if the runway is constructed.  

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