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Navi Mumbai International airport approval sham continues news
12 August 2009

Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA)Mumbai: The Centre has only approved an environment impact assessment study for the proposed Navi Mumbai airport but not the project itself, claims minister of state for environment and forests, Jairam Ramesh. This surprising claim comes after the centre maintained a sphinx-like silence for nearly three months even  as the state government and CIDCO went to town claiming that approval had been granted after suitably amending environment and coastal regulation zone (CRZ) rules.

"We have given permission only for Terms of References under which an environment impact assessment study has to be carried out," Ramesh told reporters here today. "We have not given clearance to the airport (project)," he said.

The problem with the proposed area was that around 150 hectares are covered with mangrove vegetation and "therefore the experts have to suggest how the destruction of the mangroves for the construction of airport could be neutralised," the minister said.

Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, has been entrusted with the task of carrying out the study which will be completed in 9-12 months time, Ramesh said.

Earlier, on 18 May this year, TC Benjamin, principal secretary in the state government's urban development department, had this to say, "The environmental and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) issues which had so far hindered the project, have been cleared by the government.'' (See: Navi Mumbai airport project clears final hurdle)

CIDCO authorities let it be known that consultants appointed by them had already submitted their report and that the final report would be ready by August-end. They further let it be known that tenders for selection of the developer would be prepared by 30 September.

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Navi Mumbai International airport approval sham continues