Navi Mumbai airport: 1 step forward, but still status quo

If there’s any forward movement concerning development of the much-awaited Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA), which still exists only on paper, it’s hardly noticeable. For instance, after a yearlong wait City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) has received consent of the state forest department for a tract to be used for the project, and a go-ahead from the union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) is expected in two months.

However, the fact that the corporation has not yet received approval on its Request for Qualification (RFQ) documents from the union ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) because of unresolved land compensation issue virtually nullifies all the encouraging events.

Still on paper? The site of the much-awaited Navi Mumbai International Airport near Panvel. File Pic

The state forest department cleared usage of around 250 hectares for the airport and subsequently the Democratic Front government forwarded the endorsement to MoEF for final approval a few days ago.

Gurunath Anarse, general manager (environment) of CIDCO, said, “We had sought around 250 hectares of forestland for development of the airport and the forest department has issued the go-ahead. However, the state government has sent the documents to MoEF. The definitive authorisation is likely to come in two months. After that CIDCO can move ahead with the venture.”

“We had planned to issue the RFQ in June this year and sent the papers to the civil aviation ministry for approval. However, we have not yet received the sanction since we have not resolved the land compensation issue so far that is a prerequisite for issuance of RFQ. When we brought the reparation issue to the notice of the chief minister a few days back he assured us that he would expedite the process. However, we will not be able to carry out any activity at the airport till this problem is sorted,” said a senior CIDCO official, requesting anonymity.

When contacted, S Vijay Kumar, chief general manager (airport) of CIDCO, said, “We have been following the RFQ issue with concerned authorities. Once the matter of land acquisition issue is settled, the RFQ documents will be approved.” 

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