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Monday, 18 Nov 2013
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Navi Mumbai International Airport stalled by PAPs

 

The stalemate surrounding the Navi Mumbai International Airport project continues even after the recent attempts to kickstart the project. The impasse in implementing the project seems to be nowhere near ending and has forced the state government to consider alternative sites for the airport.

 

Navi Mumbai International Airport_ProjectsToday

 

The Navi Mumbai Airport project is being promoted by City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) and was envisaged in 1997 as an alternative to the existing Mumbai International Airport. The airport is expected to have an annual passenger carrying capacity of 10 million after completion of the first phase and a capacity of 60 million when fully completed.

 

Although the project received all the necessary clearances years ago, it did not take off due to failure in reaching an agreement with the project affected persons (PAPs). This standoff between the project developers and land owners escalated the project cost from Rs 4,766 crore to Rs 14,573 crore. CIDCO has so far acquired 1,572 ha of land but the remainder of 671 ha to be acquired is holding back the project.

 

Things started stirring up in October 2013, when the Bombay High Court gave its approval for cutting 108 ha of the mangrove cover at the proposed airport site. CIDCO and the Maharashtra government then stepped up efforts to solve the last hurdle in implementing the project, which is signing an agreement with the PAPs.

 

On 13 November 2013, an agreement was reached between the state government and the PAPs. Accordingly, the PAPs accepted the compensation package, which offered 22.5 per cent of developed land for every ha of land acquired. It was decided that they would get one floor space index (FSI) for 12.5 per cent of developed land and 2.5 per cent FSI for another 10 per cent of developed land.

 

The PAPs would also get three times more land against the current residential plot they occupy, along with Rs 1,000 per sq ft as construction cost. The package also included 100 shares of Rs 10 to each PAP family in the new company that will be formed for undertaking the development of the airport, totalling two per cent of the equity in the company.

 

Within a few days of finalising the agreement, the project ran into fresh hurdles when a section of the PAPs announced that they would continue the agitation for compensation of 35 per cent developed land and monetary compensation of Rs 6.25 crore per ha. CIDCO is likely to hold more talks with the PAPs and negotiate the compensation package. Still, with this latest snag it can be said that the airport project has hit a standstill again.

 

Frustrated with the inordinate delays, the state government has proposed building the new airport on land reclaimed from the sea if landowners don’t accept the compensation package. The government has even engaged a Dutch firm, Netherlands Airport Consultants (Naco) for the feasibility study on building a 1,200 ha artificial island airport.

 

The island airport option is quite attractive as it will cost about Rs 3,000 crore to build and is expected to be completed in 18 months.

 

On the other hand, if a final agreement is reached between the PAPs in the coming days, then the greenfield airport project is expected to be awarded in March 2014.

 

A new greenfield international project is of pivotal importance as the existing Mumbai International Airport at Sahar has no scope for future expansion and is projected to reach full capacity by 2015. The project promoters – land owners tug of war has already delayed the project by more than a decade and ballooned the project cost by three times. It’s high time the state government takes a firm stand on PAPs issue so that CIDCO can execute the project without further delays.

 

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Quote of the week:

 

Pramod Hindurao_CIDCO_ProjectsToday

"I will soon meet the villagers and make all attempts to take them on board, so that development of the airport begins at the earliest. The Maharashtra government and CIDCO have worked out a unique compensation package."

Pramod Hindurao,
Chairman, CIDCO

 
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