ALTHOUGH SENIOR government officials had officially confirmed the Chakan site for the proposed international airport, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said that Pune’s airport was on track and in all likelihood, it would come up at the old site in the Chakan-Rajgurunagar belt.
The chief minister made a mention of the progress of Pune airport and the Navi Mumbai airport at the Maharashtra Investment Seminar in Mumbai. “The site is being reviewed and reports are being sought and it should happen in my tenure,” he said.
With the general administration and civil aviation head, Additional Chief secretary Maharashtra PS Meena, having already earlier stated the same to The Indian Express, he said, they were waiting for the report after the recce was conducted by the Airports Authority of India team and another agency. “The old site at Chakan-Rajgurunagar belt is considered to be the best as the land is flat and there will be minimum displacement. We are hoping that the villagers do not oppose the project,’’ said Meena on Tuesday when contacted by The Indian Express.
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He said that the CM’s statement came after the department briefed him about the update on the proposed land. With this development, the city will, in all likelihood, see the international airport in this belt after almost 10 years.
The issue of a new airport for Pune has been stretched for more than 12 years now. Initially, land at Shiroli-Chandus and Pait-Koye, around 20 kms from the Chakan industrial belt, had been zeroed-in on, but after opposition of local farmers, the state conducted a feasibility survey at two other sites, including the Khed Special Economic Zone. However, this option also failed to take off, because 74 per cent of this land is under the ownership of the Kalyani Group, while the rest of the 26 per cent comes under the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). When it was clear that the Kalyani Group was unwilling to give up its land in Khed for the PIA in February last year, the state government started exploring the earlier options around Chakan again, stated the officials. BJP MP Anil Shirole said that he had been following up the airport issue for quite sometime now and if the CM has announced the same then it is definitely for the benefit of the city.