Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel is optimistic that the Navi Mumbai airport will get the final environment clearance in a month and the first phase will be in operation by 2014-15. Though, he added that the commercial component of the project cannot be reduced as the project will need it. The Minister is too optimistic despite the fact that the Union Aviation Ministry is not ready to comply with all the suggestions made by the Union Environment Ministry. Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel is definitely not giving in to the suggestions made by Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh’s office, yet Praful Patel is confident of getting Jairam Ramesh’s nod for the project within a month’s time. Speaking during an event, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel very optimistically stated that the Navi Mumbai will get the environment clearance within a month. He said “The Navi Mumbai airport is very much under the active consideration of the Environment Ministry. There have been several rounds of dialogue with Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and they are sure of finding an early resolution to the matter.” Praful Patel added that the Navi Mumbai airport should have been in operation by 2011 but now they are aiming at pushing for opening the first phase by 2014-15. However, Praful Patel is also clear about not accepting to the suggestions of the Union Environment Ministry. To begin with the Ministry had last asked CIDCO to submit a feasibility report with on the other sites including Kalyan. However Praful Patel has said that Navi Mumbai is the only site feasible for an airport. On the issue of reducing the gap between the runways, Praful Patel has said that they will reduce the gap between the two runways from 1.8 km to 1.5 km and is also thinking of lining the banks of the river Gadhi to ensure it does not change course. However, there is another major UEM suggestion that Praful Patel is not willing to accept – that of shifting non-aeronautical aspects in the project from the ecologically sensitive area. In other words, the areas that have been demarcated for five star hotels and commercial ventures and involve major environment and mangrove destruction will not be moved. Justifying their reason to ignore the UEM’s suggestion on this Praful Patel has said that, – TYPE THIS “The commercial component reduction cannot be there because it is an economic requirement, otherwise there will be no bidders for the Navi Mumbai airport.” So basically Union Aviation Minister Praful Patel is not ready to comply with any significant suggestion made by Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh’s office. So what makes him confident of getting the environment clearance in a month’s time? That’s the million dollar question only time will answer. With bureau inputs, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.
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