Thanks to the delay in securing clearance by the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) for the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) site from the state forest department, the actual construction work for the much-awaited airport is not likely to commence before September 2013. Apart from the forest clearance, a few other technical reasons have delayed the commencement of the construction work.
Wait and watch
“We were supposed to invite Expression of Interest (EOI) from global bidders in July 2012, but it has not been done due to technical reasons. We are hoping that the tendering process will be done in the next eight months. Once it is over, the company, which bags the contract, will take another six to eight months for feasibility study before it commences work. So the actual work will start only by September 2013 only,” said a senior CIDCO official, requesting anonymity.
Since the proposed airport site is a marshland and a hilly terrain, levelling of the land is necessary before the construction begins. Subsequently, CIDCO has come up with plans to do the needful i.e. cutting down the hill and filling the marshland. However, CIDCO is yet to initiate these works, as it awaits clearance from the forest department.
“In this project, we will have to cut down a hill and have to build the airport on a wetland, so technical difficulties are bound to happen before actual construction of the airport. We have assigned a private agency to examine feasibility of the hill cutting process, but we cannot start the actual work unless we get forest clearance,” said the CIDCO official.
‘It’s MoEF’s call’
When contacted, officials from the state forest department claimed they have sent their report on forest clearance to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Pravin Pardeshi, secretary, state forest department, said “We have carried out our survey at the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport site and have sent a report to the MoEF. The ministry will take the final decision.”