Pune's new airport update
The Maharashtra government has identified a new location at Rajgurunagar for the proposed international airport. District guardian minister and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said the land that has been identified is close to the earlier location and is likely to be less controversial. Speaking to the media after a meeting with government officials at the Council Hall , Pawar said the issue was discussed with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and the district administration was told to initiate further steps. “So far, we have not announced the exact location, land inspection and earmarking, fearing opposition. The official announcement will be made soon,” he said. The Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC), the airport implementing authority, had told the state government in April this year that the present site at Rajgurunagar was not suitable for the airport due to several factors, including farmers’ opposition to land acquisition, presence of vast tracts of forest land, difficulties in resurfacing the project area and substantial irrigation activity in some patches. The airport project was moved to Rajgurunagar from Chakan in September 2005. About 3,000 hectares of land from seven villages around Rajgurunagar were earmarked for the project. “Though the proposal for the Navi Mumbai international airport is through, Pune too needs an international airport because big industries are coming up in Pune,” Pawar said. People from Ahmednagar, Beed, Satara, Sangli, Solapur and Kolhapur will also benefit from the new airport, the minister added.