Government yet to seek green clearance for water aerodromes
10 aerodromes have been awarded to airlines for seaplane operations
A year after 10 water aerodromes were awarded to airlines for seaplane operations, the government is yet to seek environmental clearance for them.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation appointed a consultant, M/s Feedback Infra, to prepare a detailed project report in August last year. Subsequently, a proposal was sent to the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) seeking the “terms of reference” for conducting an environment impact assessment (EIA) for three waterdromes in Andaman and Nicobar, which was granted on November 25. Once the EIA is finalised, the apex body under the MoEF, Environment Approval Committee, will take it up for clearance.
This process is yet to be undertaken for the remaining seven waterdromes.
“We are submitting the request [to the Environment Ministry] phase wise. The process of seeking environmental clearance requires a lot of data such as bathymetric test,” a Ministry spokesperson said.
In January 2019, the government announced winners of the third round of UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) — the government’s low-cost flying scheme. Among the routes awarded to airlines were those that provided air connectivity to 10 waterdromes — the Statue of Unity, the Sabarmati riverfront and the Shatrunjay dam in Gujarat; the Nagarjuna Sagar dam and the Prakasam barrage in Andhra Pradesh and Havelock Island, Neill Island and Long island in Andaman and Nicobar. Eight of these waterdromes in Gujarat, Assam and Andaman and Nicobar were awarded to the SpiceJet and the remaining two were bagged by the Turbojet Aviation Private Limited.
Asked when the sea plane operations are likely to take off, the official said, “We are preparing a roadmap along with SpiceJet, which is one of the selected airlines for the operations. We expect some waterdromes to start operations in the next four-six months.”
As per the EAC’s “terms of reference” for the waterdromes in Andaman and Nicobar, the Ministry of Civil Aviation will have to provide information about toilet waste from flights, disposal of trash collected during flights and waste from eateries and shops at the aerodromes. Details have also been sought about the impact of noise on the sensitive environment and presence of corals.
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