February 5, 2018 3:11:29 am
Flight operations at the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) could commence by next year, senior officials of the City Industrial and Development Corporation (CIDCO) said. Official expect the first phase of the cutting work of Ulwe hill to be completed by December this year. Last week, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said at an event in Mumbai that it would take another four to five years for the NMIA to be fully operational. He was referring to the amount of time it would take for Mumbai to benefit from the increase in its capacity to handle more number of aircraft, as the existing Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has a “bottle-necked single runway”. “We are working towards the target. We are carrying out work in such a way that at least the first flight would be operational by 2019,” Mohan Ninawe, CIDCO spokesperson, said.
According to CIDCO officials, one of their main concerns involves the relocation of project affected people (PAP) from the site of the airport. A total of 3,000 families must be rehabilitated, and nearly 300 families have been relocated so far. The state development body has offered additional financial incentives if the families are ready to vacate the land by May this year. “Two of the biggest concerns we face in the development of the airport are: rehabilitation of families and legal clearances. We are awaiting the final environmental clearance for undertaking the project. Once that is received, the work can be carried out in full swing,” a senior CIDCO official said.
The GVK Group, which won the bid for the construction of the airport, aims at financial closure by May this year. They will be required to carry out the second phase of hill cutting to level the ground. According to the concessionaire agreement signed by CIDCO and GVK, the private player will need to be given land which is not occupied. “We are getting a positive response on the incentive scheme that was offered. We are expecting to see some movement by the end of this month. The ground work at the site is being carried out smoothly,” a CIDCO official said.
The NMIA will have two parallel runways, and expects to see movement of more than 80 flights in an hour. Authorities plan to make one runway functional by next year so that the airport could be considered operational.
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