Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday informed the legislative council that the first plane from the Navi Mumbai airport should take off in 2019. He said this during a calling attention motion raised in the upper house by member Sanjay Dutt.
Fadnavis said the airport project had three main hurdles — land acquisition,environmental clearances and revenue model. “Now that we have cleared them all, if we keep moving ahead the way we currently are, we should be able to fly the first plane from Navi Mumbai in 2019,” he added.
The ambitious project that looks at reducing the traffic at Mumbai airport will be spread over 2,268 hectares. Of this, 671 hectares is the land to be acquired from private players, around 592 has already been acquired. With respect to the rest, there have been title problems, and in some cases, land owners had moved court against the proposed compensation package, which is touted to be one of the best. The project will set up twohousing projects for the locals.
Jayant Patil, member of the house, said land should be acquired and quarries around the areas should be sealed, so that once the development starts, it does not create any impediments. “Also, locals should be involved in training so that they can get some knowledge,” he added.
Members also demanded a temporary arrangement to decongest Mumbai airport traffic. Dutt said, “Due to heavy traffic, several flights are unable to land and have to keep circling the airport for up to half an hour. This leads to waste of time and fuel. If the Juhu airstrip is lengthened, small passenger planes can land there.” Fadnavis said the government will consider the suggestion positively.
Questions were also raised about Naina (Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area) that is being pitched as a township bigger than Mumbai.
Kiran Pawaskar, another member, said as development of the area and the new township takes place, locals should be given an employment opportunity. “Cidco has equity and a say in agreements. We will certainly consider having agreements that can help locals,” said Fadnavis.