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Decks finally cleared for Mumbai's 2nd airport

Last updated on: November 22, 2010 15:27 IST

Decks finally cleared for Mumbai's 2nd airport

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The much-delayed Navi Mumbai airport project finally god the green signal on Monday with the environment and civil aviation ministries reaching an understanding on it, and the Expert Appraisal Committee okaying the revised proposal.

The understanding was reached during a meeting between Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel in New Delhi to decide the fate of the airport which has been embroiled in 'green' wrangle.

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Image: Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.

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Under the revised proposal, the airport site would not be changed, but the location of non-aeronautical assets like hotels and shopping areas are likely to be shifted.

The airport project was approved by the Union Cabinet in 2007 but had got stuck with the environment ministry raising some objections over diversion of two rivers, unlikely survival of mangroves spread over 400 acres and the blasting of a hill.

As desired by the environment Ministry, Maharashtra  government's City and Industrial Development Corporation had agreed to change the original plan to ensure that the mangroves were not destroyed and the river Ghadi was not diverted.

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Land prices near airport site soar

Meanwhile, the announcement that the environment clearance for the Navi Mumbai airport project would be in place by November a few weeks ago came as music to the ears of real estate developers.

Land prices in the 18 villages to be affected due to the proposed international airport in Navi Mumbai have skyrocketted.

Land, which sold at Rs 20,000-40,000 per acre about five years ago, is fetching Rs 40 lakh-Rs 1.50 crore (Rs 15 million) per acre, depending on the position of the land.

Mahendra Patil, sarpanch of Pargaon village, said land has now become a goldmine for villagers. Recently, a farmer, who had land on the Panvel road side, got Rs 1.50 crore per acre.

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Vaghivali, Chinchpada, Ulwe, Pargaon and Dapoli villages are in maximum demand where realty developers from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Pune have already closed deals with landowners.

In some cases, builders and developers have given a token amount with an assurance to complete the deal shortly.

These plots are not part of the 1,615 hectares of land required for the airport project, for which City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) will announce compensation as soon as the uncertainty over the airport site gets over.

A Cidco official said 78 per cent of the land is under possession, while 22 per cent is under acquisition.

According to realty experts, the increase in rate for the land around the proposed airport project is much more than that offered for land adjacent to the Dronagiri SEZ, Revas port, MahaMumbai SEZ, and the power projects being developed by Tata Power and Reliance Power.

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These deals are being struck at the rate of Rs 22 lakh (Rs 2.2 million) per acre, while Tata Power is paying Rs 20 lakh per acre with a job per person per project affected family.

Patil said the expectations of villagers around the Navi Mumbai airport project site have now gone up as the calls from builders and developers have increased in recent days.

Patil is bang on. Listen to Ramakant Tare, who has a few acres of land at Pargaon.

Tare said he is waiting for the state government and Cidco to declare compensation based on prevailing market rates.

"I am not in a hurry. I have to think of my future generation and will wait for a further rise in land rates," he added.



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