Navi Mumbai Intl Airport: Mangrove park shifted from near airport to Khandeshwar

Decision taken after environment ministry asks CIDCO to make the area adjacent to the airport ‘unattractive’ for birds; ministry cites threats to aircraft and airport operations

A month after the environment ministry asked the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to make the area adjoining the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) ‘unattractive’ for birds, sources at CIDCO revealed that the town planning agency will now develop a mangrove park on an open plot near Khandeshwar railway station.

The new site for the mangrove park near Khandeshwar railway station
The new site for the mangrove park near Khandeshwar railway station

The decision was taken after the ministry cited that the proposed park near the airport would attract birds, which could pose a threat to aircraft. “The ministry decided to scrap the earlier clause, as it proved dangerous for aircraft movement. As per the earlier clause, the mangrove park was to come up next to the airport.

But the new location at Khandeshwar is 4 to 5 km away from the proposed airport and already has a mangrove stretch. Hence, it would not pose any threat for day-to-day activities at the airport. The park will be developed, simultaneously, alongside NMIA. While the earlier cost was pegged at Rs 55 crore, we are yet to give an estimate for the park at the new location,” said a CIDCO official.

The earlier plan
In 2010, at the time of the airport project receiving its clearance, the environment ministry had put in a clause that CIDCO would have to develop a mangrove park close to the airport to compensate for the loss of 110 hectares of mangroves that would be reclaimed for the NMIA. CIDCO was supposed to develop 615 hectares of mangroves at three to four different sites, including a mangrove park on 245 hectares at Waghivali island, Navi Mumbai.

Work to commence
Sources revealed that the pre-development work for NMIA, which includes clearing and levelling marshy land, would commence by October. About Rs 1,700 crore would be spent on this work, which will take a year for completion.

Also, the four bidders who had submitted a Request for Qualification (RFQ) in January have been qualified for submission of Request for Proposal (RFP). The four companies are: GMR group, Mumbai International Airport Limited, Zurich Airport with Hiranandani Developers, and MIA Infrastructure of France along with Tata Realty.

2,268 hectares
Total area of the Navi Mumbai International Airport

1,160 hectares
Area that will be used to develop runway and terminal

Rs 9,500 crore
Cost of the NMIA, which will be constructed in two phases

Jan 2019
Date by which the first flight from Navi Mumbai is expected to take off

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