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Environment Ministry asks for details on Shirdi airport project

Last Updated: Sunday, August 2, 2009 - 16:38

New Delhi: Devotees of Sai Baba will have to wait some more to fly to Shirdi in Maharashtra as the proposed airport is yet to pass the green test by the Union
Environment Ministry, which has sough details of steps the developer intends to take to address concerns such as air and noise pollution.

The Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) is planning to develop the Rs 315-crore airport on 300 acres of land, about 3 km from the shrine in Ahmednagar, spread across Sonewadi and Savalivihirbudruk villages.

The state government which had given "in-principle" approval to the project last year will provide 80 percent of the land for the project and MADC will acquire the remaining 20 percent.

However, Union Environment Ministry at a recent meeting asked the project proponent to a hold public hearing as per provisions of Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2006 and address issues raised by public in the Environmental Management Plan, before it could be given a go ahead.

The Ministry has also sought details of the steps the developer plans to take to mitigate the noise and air pollution in the region due to the greenfield airport which is expected to become operational by 2011.
"Details on resettlement of affected habitats, waste disposal plans and impact of the airport on the nearby settlements have also been asked to submit before the project
is given green signal," an environment ministry official said.

Shridi, a religious and tourist place, is witnessing increased traffic flow which reaches to about half a million people during auspicious days, weekends and public holidays,
MADC said while seeking approval for the project.

Considering the need and future growth of religious tourism in Shirdi, a Greenfield airport to take care of domestic as well as international traffic is essential, the
MADC said.

The Development Plan of Shirdi prepared in 1992 also envisages having an airport for Shridi, it noted.

The airport will have a terminal building, cafeteria, airline offices, parking, a 3,000-metre long runway and night landing facility.

MADC will also construct a one-km two-lane road from Shirdi-Kopargaon road to the airport site. A 50-room hotel facility would be set up through a private developer adjacent to the airport, the company said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, August 2, 2009 - 16:38
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