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Navi Mumbai airport: PIL claims authorities failed to meet conditions before starting project

Somya Lohia
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Tough to meet 2019 deadline for Navi Mumbai airport: RN Choubey

It can be noted that state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has repeatedly been saying that the work on the first phase of the Rs 16,700-crore Navi Mumbai International airport will be completed by the end of 2019.

Moneycontrol News

In what could be a setback for the Navi Mumbai International Airport, a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed claiming the conditions set for starting the project have not been met.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the airport and expressed hope that it “will be operational on time.” Just a few days later, a PIL was filed at the Bombay High Court by NGO Vanashakti and its director Dayanand Stalin that sought the work to be stopped, a Times of India report said.

Following which, a division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Pradeep Deshmukh issued notices to the Union Civil Aviation Ministry, CIDCO, Airports Authority of India and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and asked them to respond to the PIL.

As per the report, the petition said around 617 acres of forest land had been handed over to CIDCO for the project. From this, around 350 acres is reserved as forest land, while 266 acres is covered by mangroves.

To compensate for the damage to the environment, the authorities concerned were to declare the area bordering the upcoming airport as a mangrove sanctuary. However, the petition claimed that the condition was arbitrarily modified and replaced with the Thane creek flamingo habitat, in a direct violation of the conditions of environmental clearance.

It also accused the authorities of not complying with the original plan as the alternative site for migratory birds at the Sewri coastal wetland area has not been developed.

The petition also claimed that the area between Karnala Bird Sanctuary and the proposed airport, was to be notified as a sanctuary, but it has not been done.

Claiming further violations in the project, the petition said that the blasting of 92m of the hill area in Ulwe has begun without adhering to environmental rules.

The court has the concerned authorities to reply to the petition and scheduled the next hearing for March 28.