Navi Mumbai airport gets green light

Navi Mumbai airport gets green light

Mumbai's second international airport has its chocks removed as the city prepares to handle 40 million plus passengers annually by 2013
Mangroves and farmlands with their communities, form the backdrop of the site for the proposed Chinchpada international airport about 70 kilometers from Mumbai central.

Though the project was cleared by the Union Cabinet three years ago, the Navi Mumbai airport file has spent time shuffling between the offices of civil aviation and the environment ministry. 

And now, after putting "green issues" to rest, a second international airport gets the green light and will join Mumbai's existing Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in sharing the load of nearly 25.8 million passengers a year coming through Mumbai -- a figure that's expected to rise significantly in the next two years. 

"The existing Mumbai airport, where additional flights are now restricted due to saturation, is likely to exhaust its capacity of handling 40 million passengers annually by 2013," reports The Hindu.

"We have been very concerned at the lack of capacity of the (existing) Mumbai airport and difficulties in expanding it," Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said at a joint press conference with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh yesterday.

Ramesh said, "It pays to be dogmatic to begin with. We have bargained, negotiated and compromised to ensure a state-of-the-art airport from an environmental point of view.”

Those are the two sides in the story of India's growth, as the demand for improved infrastructure needs to meet the need for sustainable ecology.  

If you think the highly respected environment minister's good fight with the powerful civil aviation minister was tough and protracted, wait till you see what swift work India's ambitious businessmen will make of each other once the bidding process for the project starts. And then, once everyone is satiated, we should have a new airport by 2014.


Sita Wadhwani is CNNGo City Editor in Mumbai.


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