AFTER NEARLY 14 years, Pune’s proposed international airport has gained momentum with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s tweet that the technical team from Airport Authority of India (AAI) will conduct preliminary study of Rajgurunagar site, near Khed Special Economic Zone, in the first week of September.
The team was to conduct a survey in July and August but due to heavy rains they had postponed the visit. This is the fourth site, which was shown to the team besides the three sites shown in the district for the proposed international airport.
The Indian Express had earlier reported about this site and how a preliminary survey was done at the start of the year as it was found to be the most feasible as the land was not undulating and there was adequate space. The said site is spread over five villages—Koye, Pait, Andra, Chikhali, Askhed. The satellite mapping was done and the runaway alignment too was considered in the survey. More than 1,500 hectare at a stretch will be made available for the proposed airport of which it is believed that 40 per cent would be government land and 60 per cent would have to be acquired.
The Chief Minister had tweeted the progress in the wake of the Centre’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) that will see the aviation ministry set to sign an agreement with the Maharashtra government on Tuesday under which almost eight airports in the state will be connected. The tweet by the CM reads: “For Greenfield International Airport development at Rajgurunagar (New Chakan), AAI to send a team for preliminary study in first week of September.”
The Centre is signing the Regional Connectivity Scheme with the state, making it the first state to do so. Meanwhile, the district authorities had shown three sites but they did not get technical feasibility.
The government has given strict instructions that the land to be selected for the airport should see minimum displacement of the villagers, not irrigated, forest or tribal land. They have even changed the alignment so that the Bhama Asked project does not come in the way.
Pune District Collector Saurabh Rao said that the technical team was to visit in the month of July but because of the monsoon it was delayed and then the schedule was fixed in August and finally, CM’s tweet has declared that they will be coming in September. “Once the technical team gives us the clearance, we will have to hold meetings with the local authorities for further discussion. The meeting will also have stakeholders and we have been directed to ensure that there is minimal displacement of the local villagers,” he said.