Environment, Aviation ministries’ nod to Navi Mumbai airport

Environment, Aviation ministries’ nod to Navi Mumbai airport

New Delhi: The much-delayed Navi Mumbai airport project may become a reality with the environment and civil aviation ministries on Tuesday reached an understanding on it, but a final decision will depend on the report of expert appraisal committee on a revised proposal.

The understanding was reached during a meeting between environment minister Jairam Ramesh and civil aviation minister Praful Patel in New Delhi to decide the fate of the airport which has been embroiled in ‘green´ wrangle.

“We have made good progress. The expert appraisal committee (of the Environment Ministry) will meet on 9 and 10 November to have a final look at the compromises being worked out by both sides (on the project)," Ramesh told reporters after the meeting.

Under the revised proposal, the airport site would not be changed, but the location of non-aeronautical assets like hotels and shopping areas are likely to be shifted.

“He (Patel) is hopeful and I am also hopeful," Ramesh said.

Terming the meeting as “very constructive", Patel said, “A lot of progress has been made because of the proactive approach taken by both the sides...This project will see the light of the day (after 10 November)."

The civil aviation minister had recently said the airport was set to get the environment clearance by October-end.

The airport project was approved by the union cabinet in 2007 but had got stuck with the environment ministry raising some objections over diversion of two rivers, unlikely survival of mangroves spread over 400 acres and the blasting of a hill.

As desired by the environment ministry, Maharashtra government’s City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) had agreed to change the original plan to ensure that the mangroves were not destroyed and rivers not diverted.