With land acquisition for Mumbai's second airport proving to be difficult in Navi Mumbai, the Maharashtra government has drawn up a Plan B.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Friday that a few local residents were resisting the land acquisition and, therefore, the government had started looking for an alternative site.
The airport may be located on an island, about 1.5-2 km from Panvel Creek, and Chavan said a Dutch company had been tasked with carrying out a feasibility report for reclaiming land from the sea. “A second airport in Mumbai is an absolute necessity as the existing airport is completely choked and we are going to have a second one,” the chief minister said, addressing the 10th international real estate summit organised by Ficci.
The state government said earlier this week it had reached an agreement with affected parties, paving the way for the construction of the airport. However, it appears some villagers were reluctant to part with land.
Chavan said the compensation being offered to the affected parties is the best ever. “We did a backward calculation and it appears the cost of land, being offered as compensation, will work out to about R19.7 crore per hectare. But if some are not ready, we will go ahead with our alternative plan for which I have already spoken to the Prime Minister,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sanjay Bhatia, managing director, City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), told FE that the alternative location for the airport project is spread across 1,800 hectare and lies one meter under the sea. “The chief minister has discussed this issue with the Prime Minister and the environment ministry has been consulted. We have got an in-principal approval from the central government on this alternate location,” Bhatia said. He added that all negotiations with the project- affected people were complete.
“There are a few villagers, who in the last few days, have turned their back on our offer. Our position is clear and we will not be further negotiating with these individuals. We are standing by our final offer and compensation package.” The Dutch company, Netherlands Airport Consultants, met the chief minister and Cidco officials some time ago and a feasibility study has been commissioned.