Task force set up for development of airports

Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh and Maharashtra chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan in a joint statement yesterday said, a special permanent task force had been set up to oversee the development of all existing and upcoming airports in the state.

The task force would comprise members from the civil aviation sector and the state and clearing encroachments from the airport area and rehabilitating the affected people would be one of the most important tasks of the team.

The announcement came during Singh's visit to the city yesterday, which was his first after he took over the post of the civil aviation minister. Singh and Chavan surveyed the international and domestic airports aerially, as also the Juhu aerodrome in the morning, and discussed their development with high-ranking officials accompanying them. The central minister also visited Terminal 2 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, currently under construction.
Hurdles to the development of other airports in the state, including the those proposed at Chakan in Pune and at Navi Mumbai, as also an aviation hub at Nagpur also came up for discussion.

According to sources, 134 acres of land are yet to be acquired for the development of the aviation hub and negotiations are on between plot owners and the state for the acquisition of land for the Navi Mumbai airport.
Singh said new packages were under consideration for land for land acquisition for the Navi Mumbai airport. The proposal to ease congestion with the development of the Juhu aerodrome to route a part of city air traffic was also discussed.

Meanwhile, following the failure of a high-level meeting over the delay in the modernisation of Mumbai airport, a task force has been formed to look into it. The force would be headed by chief secretary J K Banthia, and will comprise officials from the state, civil aviation ministry, (Airports Authority of India) AAI and (Mumbai International Airport Limited) MIAL.

According to a government survey carried out earlier, around 80,000 families lived in the slums occupying the 120-hectare airport land, a sizeable section of which fell on the 40-hectare aeronautical zone.