Maha MPs suggest alternative site for Navi Mumbai airport

New Delhi: As the fate of the proposed Navi Mumbai airport in Maharashtra hangs in balance, two MPs from the state have suggested an alternative site for the project that aims to meet the increasing air traffic need of the city.

Bhiwandi and Palghar MPs Suresh Kashinath Taware (Congress) and Baliram Jadhav (Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi) have jointly written a letter to Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to consider shifting of the proposed new international airport (Navi Mumbai airport) to village Nevale in Kalyan district.

Supporting Ramesh's opposition to proposed Navi Mumbai airport due to environmental reasons, they said it will lead to huge ecological costs. They said it will involve monetary costs of Rs 2340 crore for replanting due to destruction of nearly 161.5 hectares of mangroves, diversion of two rivers -- Ulwe and Gandhi -- and flattening of two hillocks.

The new airport, to be built over 2000 hectares, has been planned near Panvel, about 30 kilometres away from Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and is facing roadblocks due to environmental reasons.

As an alternative, the Lok Sabha MPs have suggested over 1,700 acres in and around village Nevale in Taluka Kalyan and Ambarnath as a site for proposed airport and sought its feasibility report.

"This site is located very close to industrial hubs like Patalganga, Rasayani, Khopoli, Thane MIDC and JNPT Port... it does not violate any coastal regulation zone (rules)" and there is no land acquisition issues, they said.

The Environment Ministry is yet to give clearance to the project and sought social impact assessment report from the Maharashtra government but have also pointed out that it will have serious environmental implication and flooding of Panvel town could be one among them.