Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
22-November-2010 17:45 IST
Environmental Clearance Accorded to Navi Mumbai Airport Project
Concerns on Navi Mumbai Met: Jairam Ramesh
The Navi Mumbai Air Port Project has been formally accorded the environmental clearance. Shri Jiarm Ramesh , Minister of State for Environment and Forests disclosed here at a joint press conference along with Shri Praful Patel, Minister for Civil Aviation and Chief Minister of Maharashtra , Shri Prithviraj Chavan. Shri Ramesh Said, “ From the environmental point of view, this has been a very major compromise that has been reached between the Ministry of Environment and Forests, CIDCO and the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Today there are 161 hectares of mangroves in the Air Port Project Area. We have got Agreement that before the project is commissioned, 678 hector of mangrove plantation would be developed around the Air Port area. It is a four fold increase in the area of the mangroves in Navi Mumbai.”

Shri Ramesh said the concerns of the Ministry of Environment & Forests have been met 100%. The distance between two runways is being reduced from 1-8 km to 1.55 kms, the river Gadhi will not be diverted due to this. The Ulwe water body will be re-coursed. It is tidally – influenced water body, not a river. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has stipulated to minimize the adverse impacts. Regarding other concerns the Environment Minister said, “ The 90 meter high hill will need to be removed to enable smooth access to the runways. It has already been quarried so the ecological value of the hill is virtually zero. Ministry of Environment and Forests has put 32 conditions for environmental clearance.” Prominent among these conditions and safeguards are the following:

(i) CIDCO shall obtain necessary permission from Hon’ble High Court of Bombay for cutting of mangroves and clearance under Forest Conservation Act 1980 as per the orders in respect of notice of Motion no. 417 of 2006 in PIL no. 87/2006, as required.

(ii) CIDCO shall rehabilitate about 3000 families of 10 settlements from 7 villages falling within the airport zone as per the R&R policy of the Government of India or the Government of Maharashtra, whichever is more beneficial to the project-affected persons.

(iii) The plantation and protection of mangroves by CIDCO amounting to 615 ha. will be implemented in the shape of biodiversity mangrove parks well before the airport is operational.

(iv) A comprehensive Master Plan for Surface drainage and Flood protection, keeping in view the recoursing of the Ulwe will be prepared and submitted to the MoE&F.

(v) CIDCO will put in place a contingency plan to avoid flooding of the low-lying areas all around the airport. The need for widening and deepening the Gadhi River will be studied, if required.

(vi) Since the project proposal has now under gone many changes since it was first submitted, a fresh comprehensive post-project EIA report shall be prepared under the approved layout of the airport, the new hydrological scenario, altered topography and land use. The revised EIA report should also include ecological aspects answering queries raised by the BNHS.

(vii) CIDCO will conduct a baseline survey of avian fauna before the start of the construction of the airport and the details will be put up every three months on the website in association with the BNHS.

(viii) In order to meet all the essential aeronautical requirements and the further airport expansions, no property development shall be undertaken within the proposed aeronautical airport zone area (1160ha).

(ix) A high-level advisory and monitoring committee which should include international experts of repute shall be constituted by CIDCO to oversee the implementation of the environmental mitigation measures. The monitoring shall be done at various stages (planning, construction, and operation) of project and all compliance reports will be put immediately in the public domain.

Shri Ramesh said that the Process of constructing environmentally safe, an ecologically sound, energy efficient international Airport at Mumbai can start now selecting the private sector partner. He also appealed to the Maharashtra Chieh Minister to develop the Juhu airport as a green lung for Mumbai city. Any construction activity should not be allowed at Juhu airport, he added.

Shri Praful Patel, Minister for Civil Aviation welcome the speedy disposal of long time pending proposal and said, “ This is very important for civil aviation growth of the country and the economy of Maharashtra and entire country. The civil aviation Ministry was very concerned about lack of facilities of the Mumbai Airport. There were difficulties in expanding the current airport of Mumbai.” Responding to environmental conditions Shri Patel said, “It is our joint responsibility to address all issues of environment. There is no compromise. The issues of mangrove transplantation and regeneration in adjoining areas will act as a bigger and better buffer than what the current mangrove cover is giving to this part of the Navi Mumbai Area. Significance steps have been taken and I can assure all 32 corrective measurers for implementation of the project will be taken up.” Shri Patel explained that the change in runway is within the stipulated guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization for safe and simultaneous operations of two runways.”

Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra said, “This is a classic example of working together for all mega projects. When environmental concerns were raised, 17 alternate sites were proposed but after six joint meetings, one site visit of environmental experts and long negotiations and discussions, this site was finalized and we agreed to all environmental conditions imposed by Ministry of Environment and Forests. We can not give up environmental cause. This is an example of how development and environmental protection and sustainability can go hand in hand. The compromise is without basic issue of civil aviation safety or environmental sustainability.” Regarding line of actions, the Chief Minister said, “There are most immediate steps to be taken now. It includes to obtain forests clearance, approach High Court for getting some clearances, relocation of about 3000 families and to acquire about 5 to 7 % of area. Entire 436 hectare of area will be quickly done.” Shri Chavan said, “It will bring capacity of 10 million passengers per year. It will be completed by 2014 -15 in four phases. It will add 25000 direct jobs and similar number of indirect jobs in first phase and ultimately it will give about 1lakh direct job.”