Environmental experts panel discuss Navi Mumbai airport`s fate

Days after a spat between Praful Patel and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on the issue, an experts` committee will meet here tomorrow to discuss the environmental impact of constructing a second airport at Mumbai.

Last Updated: Jul 20, 2010, 21:41 PM IST

New Delhi: Days after a spat between Civil
Aviation Minister Praful Patel and Environment Minister Jairam
Ramesh on the issue, an experts` committee will meet here
tomorrow to discuss the environmental impact of constructing a
second airport at Mumbai.

While Patel had charged the Environment Ministry with
delaying approval to the Navi Mumbai airport project cleared
by the Union Cabinet in 2007, Ramesh had countered it saying
"serious" ecological issues needed to be addressed.

The Experts Appraisal Committee (EAC) under the
Environment Ministry would meet tomorrow. "We will discuss the
environmental impact assessment report prepared by IIT
Mumbai," Ramesh said here.

Earlier, while countering his ministerial colleague`s
charge, Ramesh had said that the construction of the Navi
Mumbai airport at the proposed site would damage 2,000
hectares of mangrove cultivation. Two rivers will also have to
be diverted, he had said.

Patel, on the other hand, had stressed that Mumbai
required a second airport urgently as the existing one was on
the verge of reaching the "saturation point".

He had said that the day when the existing Mumbai airport
would not be allowed to take additional flights was not far.

"It has almost come to a stage that it can`t take any
more traffic," Patel had said, adding that there was hardly a
few hours in a day to carry out maintenance of the runways.

The Navi Mumbai airport project was approved by the Union
Cabinet in May 2007 through the public-private partnership
mode.

PTI