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Airport plan to take off

A high-level meeting in the first week of January on the airport locations for Pune district may just give the necessary push to the pending domestic airport for the district.

Written by Nisha Nambiar | Pune | Published: January 1, 2012 1:32:47 am

A high-level meeting in the first week of January on the airport locations for Pune district may just give the necessary push to the pending domestic airport for the district. With the new Divisional Commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh already suggesting three locations to the state government,he is hopeful that the airport,pending for four years,may take shape in terms of land acquisition this year.

“Things will gain momentum for the airport in the coming year. We will try to negotiate with farmers and offer them the best package on the site approved by the government and resolve the issue peacefully,” said Deshmukh. He said that Pune needed the airport on priority. “There have been several issues and opposition from land holders. All aspects will be discussed at the meeting,” he added.

MADC,the nodal agency to acquire land for the proposed airport,has submitted its requirements to the government. Senior officials from the Civil Aviation Department confirmed that the MADC had put forth an alternative site for the airport at Rajgurunagar,close to the old site. However,the huge amount of funds proposed has put the state government on backfoot. “They have demanded a huge amount. With the current RBI norms,to accumulate these kind of funds is a difficult proposition,” said an official.

The MADC proposal has sought 2,700 hectares of land. The new plan envisages the project in Koye,Dhamne,Pait and Raudharwadi villages of Rajgurunagar. The proposal has demanded at least Rs 1,000 crore for the initial land acquisition and other formalities as well as Rs 40 crore for the appointment of consultants for a techno-feasibility study. “We have also said that the government should work out the details of farmers’ rehabilitation,” said the official,adding that a proper study of the area was required before acquiring land and the agency would require funds to carry out those basic operations.

Sources in the Civil Aviation Department said Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar,who has been advocating an international airport in Pune,has expedited the processes. Pawar had announced that the government had finalised the location and the process for developing the airport had started. MADC hopes that funds are allocated soon. The proposed airport would also benefit Satara,Sangli,Kolhapur,Solapur,Ahmednagar and Beed districts.

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