As Purandar airport awaits NOC from IAF, Defence Minister to call meeting of stakeholders soon

By: Express News Service | Pune | Published: October 11, 2017 5:34 am
Nirmala Sitharaman, IAF, Indian air force, Defence minister, IAF commanders, Air marshal, IAF choppers, fighter squadrons, New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman interacting with IAF Commanders during a conference in New Delhi on Tuesday. Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal New Delhi 101017

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to call a meeting among the stakeholders of the proposed Purandar airport — including the Maharashtra Airport Development Authority (MADC), the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) — to take a final call on the requisite go-ahead for the airport from the IAF. While the state government has taken several steps towards starting work on the new airport, the actual work is yet to start because the proposed plan is yet to get a No Objection Certificate from the IAF.

The district administration and the MADC have also not moved forward with the land acquisition process for the new airport. As per the plan, an area of 1,600 hectares is to be acquired for the project, named the Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje International Airport.

Speaking to mediapersons on Tuesday, District Collector Saurabh Rao said the IAF has softened its stance about the angulation of the runway of the proposed airport. “Initially, the IAF had suggested that the new runway should be exactly parallel to the Lohegaon airport runway. As per their current stance, an angular variation of 15 degrees can be accommodated. The AAI was asked to prepare a report on the common flying area and operational procedures of these two airports, which it has recently submitted to the Ministry of Defence,” said Rao, adding that his office is pursuing the issue with the office of Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre.

Rao said that as per the information he has received from Bhamre’s office, Sitharaman has demanded a meeting between all the stakeholders. “Once all the parties involved — MADC, AAI, IAF and Ministry of Defence — discuss the issue, a solution to this issue will emerge. Once that is sorted out, we can move ahead with the land acquisition, which has been stuck for the last few months due to the pending approval from the IAF,” said Rao.

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