Navi Mumbai airport project likely to get green signal

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NEW DELHI: The Navi Mumbai airport project is likely to get the much-awaited green signal from the environment ministry on Monday with some conditions including strict monitoring at the site.

Sources told PTI that the project developer City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) has agreed to meet most of the environmental concerns raised by a central green panel and there were no issues to hold up the project.

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), which met last week to study the “alterations” offered by CIDCO, has reportedly given its recommendations for clearance of the project to Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

The sources also said that clearance will be conditional and the project would be strictly monitored both during the construction stage and after its completition to ensure that environmental issues are not ignored.

The environment and civil aviation ministries had been at loggerheads over the airport project. However, after hectic wrangling, both the ministries reached a compromise formula late last month on green issues.

A major concern of EAC was to reduce the distance between two runways to minimise the impact on two rivers — Gadhi and Ulwe.

As desired by the green panel, CIDCO agreed that the airport site would not be changed but the location of non-aeronautical assets like hotels and shopping areas will be shifted.

This would be done to ensure that there is minimum damage to the 400 acres of mangroves and some hillocks in the area and two rivers — Ulwe and Gadhi — are not diverted.

CIDCO has also agreed to reduce the distance between two runways from 1,835 meters to 1,550 meters which would ensure that there will be no diversion of Gadhi and impact on Ulwe will be minimised. Ulwe will flow beneath the airport site as proposed by CIDCO.

The project proponent has also agreed to develop a mangrove park in around 275 hectares to compensate the loss of mangroves due to the proposed airport.

The project was approved by the Union Cabinet in 2007 as it was felt that the existing Mumbai airport, where additional flights are now being restricted due to saturation, is slated to exhaust its capacity of handling 40 million passengers a year by 2013.

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This post was submitted by Remya.

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