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WITH MORE land sought by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the proposed Pune international airport, the district administration along with the officials from the AAI and Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) have shown keen interest on the site in Purandar taluka, besides having assessed two sites of Koye-Pait and other villages in Khed taluka on Friday.
The AAI, after the review, is expected to prepare their report within two weeks with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asking them to speed up the process. Earlier, the AAI had put forth the proposal of 1,200 hectare but on Friday, the officials demanded 1,800-2,000 hectare, which came as point of concern for the district administration officials. The earlier two sites in Khed taluka is spread over 1,400-1,500 hectare while the villages Rajewadi and Waghapur in Purandar have the desired land as put forth by the AAI.
The officials of AAI and MADC had reviewed the sites on Friday. According to MADC officials, the day-long review had the team from AAI examining all the options and the final report is expected within two weeks.
Principal Secretary, civil aviation, Sham Lal Goyal, officials from AAI JK Dutta and S Dey were part of the team along with Vishwas Patil, MADC MD and Pune Collector Saurabh Rao. The existing two sites in Khed taluka at Rajgurunagar, which included the villages Gargotwadi and Koye Pait stretch, were shown to the team while they also conducted a recce on Purandar-Waghapur, Rajewadi and Dalimb in Daund area. While no site has been ruled out, the availability of land in these areas seems to make Purandar a viable option. The distance of these sites from the city is nearly 50 km.
Pune district administration, led by the Pune Collector Saurabh Rao, said that the AAI put forth the fresh demand for 1,800-2,000 hectare of land on Friday for the first time. “We have shown them three sites and whichever is feasible and suits the requirement will be given a go-ahead by the AAI team. While the Khed site is slightly undulating and hilly which may escalate the cost of the project, the Purandar site is barren and plain,” said the collector. Moreover, the earlier demand of the runway was 6 km by 2 km and on Friday it was stated that they would require 6 km by 4 km by the AAI officials, which would mean more than 2,000 hectare of land would be required and that would mean more displacement and rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, villagers have shown their uneasiness and have been sending letters to the state government over the last two months. “We want to ensure that the site is feasible in every way. We examined the site at Rajgurunagar but it is a hilly terrain. Hence, we showed them the sites at Purandar. The Chief Minister had called us today and has asked us to speed up the process,” said Vishwas Patil, MADC MD and vice chairman.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is also the chairman of the MADC, had tweeted about the survey on August 23 giving a boost to the pending proposal wherein he had told The Indian Express that the AAI would inspect all sites and decide the final site. Fadnavis had said that he would not speak much on the site to be finalised fearing anti-forces and land aggregators starting speculations in the market.