Navi Mumbai Airport project to take off soon

The centre has given the go ahead for key infrastructure projects in Maharashtra, including three major airport projects in Navi Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.

The announcement came after a meeting between the prime minister Manmohan Singh and state chief minister Prithviraj Chauhan. The meeting was called to review key infrastructure projects in Maharashtra.

The meeting was attended by the agriculture minister, finance minister, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, deputy chief minister of Maharashtra and senior officers of the central and state governments.

The meeting discussed key infrastructure projects in Maharashtra which needed to be fast tracked.

The most significant breakthrough was the fast-tracking of the Navi Mumbai International Airport.

''The current Mumbai Airport is expected to reach full capacity by 2015 and in the context of Mumbai's needs as a business and financial centre, there is a pressing need to develop a new international airport, failing which traffic to Mumbai would suffer delays and would also get diverted elsewhere,'' A release from the prime minister's office said.

The Navi Mumbai International Airport would ensure that air traffic to Mumbai would grow unhindered for many years.

This airport project, which was approved in 2007 by the ministry of civil aviation, has received clearances from many agencies both at the central and state levels.  The only major issue that was pending was the acquisition of remaining land. This was cleared after detailed discussions with the project affected persons (PAPs). State chief minister said an agreement had been arrived on a comprehensive and generous package for the land to be acquired. With this, all decks have been cleared to move ahead on the Navi Mumbai International Airport Project. It is likely that the project will be awarded by the end of the current financial year.

Pune airport: Another project that was finalised was the new international airport in Pune. The present Pune airport belongs to the IAF and the civilian airport operates through a civil enclave. Given the traffic projections at Pune, there is an urgent need to build a green field airport. After discussing different options, it was decided that a new international airport would be developed for Pune at Khed. The Pune International Airport Project would be lead managed by the Airports Authority of India.

Nagpur airport: The other long pending issue which was resolved is the expansion of Nagpur airport (MIHAN). It was resolved in the meeting that Government of India would move to exchange the necessary land with the state government so that the work on this can begin immediately.

Elevated Rail Corridor: The other project that was discussed is the Mumbai Elevated Rail Corridor Project, which envisages an investment of Rs20,000 crore to build additional suburban traffic capacity over 60 km. It was agreed that a fresh traffic study would be conducted taking into account the traffic capacity being created by the new Mumbai Metro line  which  is partially on the  same alignment. The modalities on moving ahead with the project would also be finalised soon after that.