Final countdown to take off: Now, CM’s green signal awaited for new airport plan

Final decision after Fadnavis’ meeting with officials of Maharashtra Airport Development Company, revenue department and Airport Authority of India.

Written by Nisha Nambiar | Pune | Published: March 7, 2016 4:29 am

The proposed Pune international airport, which is likely to come up at Rajgurunagar in Khed taluka, has almost reached the last leg of monitoring and evaluation, and now requires the final nod from Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for the project to finally take off.

With the technical committee appointed to evaluate the site based on all parameters giving its approval, the final push for the project is set to happen when the Maharashtra Chief Minister convenes a meeting with the Maharashtra Airport Development Company, revenue officials and the Airport Authority of India and takes forward the discussions, said senior officials from the government on the proposed airport, even as the Assembly session is set to commence on March 9.

After clearance from the technical committee, a detailed survey of the said site will take place, followed by the land acquisition.

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“The good thing about the site is that there will be minimum displacement as most of the land is non-agricultural land and is on a plateau, so it is suitable for the airport. While 70 per cent land can be acquired easily, 30 per cent will have to see discussions pertaining to compensation,” said the senior officials from the state government. This site was earlier in discussion but was kept aside for the Khed SEZ project. The site will cover six villages– Koye, Pait, Askhed, Raundhalwadi, Shiroli and Dhamne–near the Bhama Askhed Dam.

With the airport authority needing 1,200 hectare (3,000 acres) of flat land, the committee has to also take into consideration that the runway is in allignment with that of the Lohegaon airport and is in the East-West direction as is case with the present airport.

The length of the runway should be 6 km in length and the width is expected to be 2 km and the present site which has been reviewed meets the expectations, said officials. Incidentally, an earlier tech feasibility report, which was carried out earlier, was found to be faulty and so it was reassessed, the officials said. “With the proposed site located near the old one, the government can give clearances fast as the earlier government had even mooted for a seed amount of Rs 200 crore. However, the earlier site was cancelled due to opposition from farmers. With this site not seeing much displacement of houses, we hope there won’t be much opposition,” said a senior official.

To speed up the project, the government’s team with MADC officials had reviewed the areas of Chakan, Rajgurunagar, Shikrapur and Chaufalla. However, it was finally decided to zero-in on the Rajgurunagar site.

“It is only after the proposal gets administrative, financial and technical sanctions that the government’s notification for land acquisition will come through. This will enable us to appoint a land acquisition officer and start with the actual acquisition,” said officials from the government. The airport project has been talked about for a decade. The AAI had initially recommended Chakan for the project and the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) had notified 800 hectare land with a provision for a single runway. In September 2005, the project had to be scrapped due to the director general of civil aviation’s insistence on following the International Civil Aviations two-runway norm. Later, there were several sites, including Khed SEZ, that ran into trouble with approvals.

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