Would look into Navi Mumbai airport issue: PM

After pleas for an early clearance to the long-pending Navi Mumbai airport project, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to on Friday said he would personally look into the issue to resolve the matter at the earliest.

New Delhi: After pleas for an early
clearance to the long-pending Navi Mumbai airport project,
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to on Friday said he would personally
look into the issue to resolve the matter at the earliest.

The assurance was given by the Prime Minister to a
Maharashtra Congress delegation led by Chief Minister Ashok
Chavan and comprising a number of senior leaders including
Revenue Minister Narayan Rane.

"I will personally look into matter. Mumbai is of
paramount importance to the country. I appreciate that a new
airport is a necessity. Nothing will come in the way of
Mumbai`s development", Singh told the delegation, according to
Chavan.

The Chief Minister told reporters that the delegation
impressed upon the Prime Minister that expeditious development
of another airport for Mumbai was the need of the hour as
restructuring and maximum expansion of the present airport
would not be enough.

Chavan said that the Mumbai airport currently handles
26 million passengers annually and the traffic flow was set to
increase to 45 million passengers by 2014-15 and 119 million
by 2031-32.

Sidestepping questions whether the approach of
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh was posing as a problem for
Maharashtra, he said that he has had three meetings with the
Minister and the state was ready to do whatever needed to
protect environment while going ahead with the project.

Chavan and Rane dismissed Shiv Sena`s allegation that
the Congress was pressing for the Navi Mumbai airport as some
party leaders have taken land adjacent to the proposed
project. "There is no private land nearby the project", said
the Chief Minister.

PCC President Manikrao Thakre, state Environment
Minister Patangrao Kadam, Mumbai unit chief Kripa Shankar
Singh and Maharashtra Congress spokesman Kanhaiyalal Gidwani
were part of the delegation.

PTI

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