CIDCO managing director, Sanjay Bhatia, says that after PM Narendra Modi’s meeting with Maharashtra’s chief secretary, they have been able to get clearances for most of the issues in the international airport project
The long wait for approval to begin work on the Navi Mumbai international airport (NMIA) project seems to have ended, as the City & Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) claims it has received a go-ahead from the central government. The town planning body said seven out of eight issues have been resolved.
According to CIDCO MD Sanjay Bhatia, less than a week after the PM met the state secretary, they received approvals pending with the central ministries. File pic
The credit, according to CIDCO MD Sanjay Bhatia, goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For nearly a year, CIDCO, the town planning body looking after the project, has been in a deadlock with the civil aviation and environment and forests ministry at the centre.
However, during a meeting about 10 days ago, the chief secretary of the state, Swadheen Kshatriya, informed the PM that the most crucial project for the state was the airport project, and, therefore, it had to be fast-tracked.
According to Bhatia, in less than a week, CIDCO received approvals that had been awaited from the ministries, as well as from CRZ and others. Issues related to CRZ permissions, technical obstacles, land acquisition with the environment ministry, funnel zone, etc had been stuck at the centre for quite some time now.
The only permission awaited, before the ground work of the project can begin, is for the height restriction enforced by the civil aviation ministry for the 230-hectare land parcel, which, according to the MD, should also be approved soon.
The land, known as Pushpak Nagar, acquired by CIDCO from local villagers, was restricted for construction by the civil aviation; for any form of construction, permission from the ministry would be required. CIDCO had requested that it should be given the authority to pass construction projects that were up to 53 metres in height; any project above that could go to the ministry for permission.
Bhatia said that after the PM’s meeting, representatives of both environment and aviation ministries called him. “All this progress has taken place within a week, and we are expecting the remaining issues to be passed soon, as they are up for decision in a few days time,” said Bhatia, adding that the chief secretary has been in touch with the central ministries.
Another issue, which is expected to be resolved within three weeks, is the handing over of 250 hectares of land by CIDCO to the state forest department. For the airport, CIDCO has acquired land affecting mangroves spread across 108 hectares, and as compensation, is giving 250 hectares to the forest department to plant trees.
The process was moving at a snail’s pace, as it required the revenue and environment department of the state to work together. “The chief secretary met the secretaries of both the departments, and now the process has reached its final stage.
We have been told that in the next three weeks, we will get the final clearance to hand over the land to the forest department,” said a senior officer from CIDCO. After the handover, CIDCO can finally start digging the area to develop the airport.