While an empowered group of ministers (EGoM) is yet to be formed to approve the tendering and development process, sources say differences have cropped up between the state and the Centre over the project. At the heart of this row is a basic question. Who will be the owner of the land acquired for the airport —City and Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (Cidco) or the civil aviation ministry?
Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Cidco were to have 13% equity each in the Rs 14,000-crore greenfield project; the remaining 74% belongs to the developer. After recovering the cost and recording profits over a 40-year period, the developer is supposed to hand over the project and the land to Cidco and AAI. This is where the Centre and the state are at odds, it has been learnt.
While the Centre reportedly wants the entire land to be transferred in its name, Cidco has said the matter will be decided at the time of finalizing the developer. “The Centre wants the entire land to be handed over to the civil aviation ministry and also to control further development. Cidco has already placed a proposal, which clearly states that it will develop the project along with the developer and AAI. These differences are delaying formation of the EGoM and further approvals,” said an MP from Mumbai.
Meanwhile, Cidco has proposed that formation of the EGoM be avoided; instead, the steering committee should supervise the tendering and development process. It has argued that this is possible if the project is taken up under the new greenfield policy, which does away with the need for an EGoM. The Navi Mumbai airport project is being implemented under the old rules as the proposal was made years ago.
The first phase is slated to be over by December 2014. However, pre-project works like flattening of a hillock, diversion of Ulwe river and shifting of hightension lines are expected to take a year’s time. These and certain other factors may further delay the project.
Cidco vice-chairman Tanaji Satre, however, denied that there were differences between the state and the Centre. He said Cidco was in the process of acquiring 24% of the remaining land, adding that this should be over soon as farmers were cooperating with the authorities in deciding the compensation.
Satre said by the time the issue of acquisition was sorted out, other aspects (such as tendering and further approvals) would proceed without any hindrances. He also claimed that there would not be any major changes in the timeframe.
THE MAJOR CHALLENGES
About 5,000 households in 7 villages with a population of around 25,000 to be resettled
Sites have been identified for resettlement of the projectaffected people
Developer has to be selected by the end of 2012, but the process is yet to start
Acquisition of the remaining land for the airport (24%) is yet to take place
Flattening of hills was to be done by June 2012, but this is yet to start
Construction of roads has to be done by June 2013
Water connectivity has to be provided by June 2014
Shifting of power grid lines was to be done by June 2012, but this, too, hasn’t begun
Operations slated to start by December 2014
THE RELATED ISSUES
Cidco has sought assurance that air traffic to the city will be split between the existing and new airports
Immediate commissioning of construction for the Trans-Harbour Link and attached coastal roads
Extension of the Metro from Mankhurd to Panvel, a fast-track suburban rail corridor between CST and Panvel and a hovercraft terminal near south Mumbai
THE CENTRESTATE LOGJAM The state approved the draft of the tender, to be floated for international bidding, in December 2011; but the final nod is yet to come from the Centre
A steering committee was formed by the civil aviation ministry for the project, but the empowered group of ministers is yet to take shape
In March, the Maharashtra government requested the Centre that the project be transferred to the state. It is still awaiting the civil aviation ministry’s reply
Cidco chairman Pramod Hindurao met civil aviation minister Ajit Singh to expedite the project