The meeting between the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) and State officials here on Thursday seems to have resolved some issues of contention in the Navi Mumbai proposed international airport project. “There is a sense of elation among us. The meeting was positive,” T.C. Benjamin, Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, told The Hindu.
The State officials said that all the matters were discussed in the meeting. “There were some minor objections, but it looks good overall,” Mr. Benjamin said.
Tanaji Satre, Officiating Managing Director, City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) of Maharashtra, said, “It looks like there would be some headway.”
But the EAC members refused to comment on the issue. “I have nothing to add today,” Naresh Dayal, Chairperson, EAC, said. He had said on Wednesday that they would soon arrive at a solution and the Gadhi river will hopefully be saved.
Mr. Benjamin told The Hindu that the EAC has recognised the Waghivali lagoon to the north of the proposed site as an eco-sensitive tidal zone. “The Committee wants us to protect that area as the biodiversity region.” The 415-hectare lagoon consists of marshlands, mangroves and mudflats, and is surrounded by the Gadhi and the Ulwe rivers.
The original plan submitted by CIDCO had earmarked that area for non-aeronautical usage. “We have now agreed to relocate the commercial, non-aeronautical usage area. It will consist of housing, warehousing, cargo-handling and other facilities, and will be adjacent to the southern boundary of the airport. It will come up in two to three pockets,” Mr. Benjamin said.
He said that the villagers would be relocated according to the original plan.