Officials from the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) today expressed fears that the proposed international airport at Navi Mumbai could become unviable due to cost escalation, following prolonged delays.
"Increase in project cost is a matter of serious concern and further delays may lead to winding up of the project and transferring it to Chakan in Pune district or elsewhere in Maharashtra," a Cidco official, who did not want to be identified, told Business Standard.
He added that if the project was to avoid such a fate, the state government would have to arrive at a consensus with project affected persons (PAPs) at the earliest.
R C Gharat, negotiator for PAPs, confirmed what the official had said.
“Cidco, of late, has been telling us that the Navi Mumbai airport project may not see the light of the day if costs rise further. The project may have to be shifted to Chakan or elsewhere. But, there has been no communication from Cidco in writing in this regard,” he said.
Gharat added that the PAPs are still waiting for their meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
However, the authorities emphasised that they were making all out efforts to see to it that the matter is sorted out. "All efforts are being made to reach at an early settlement with PAPs. The chief minister is expected to soon meet PAPs," Cidco chairman Pramod Hindurao told Business Standard.
According to Cidco's recent internal paper, the project cost, which was envisaged at Rs 4,766 crore way back in 1998 to handle 40 million passengers annually, has risen substantially to around Rs 14,573 crore as on date to handle 60 million passengers annually. The rise has been as high as 305.76 per cent.
Even though the PAPs have dropped their initial demand of compensation of Rs 20 crore per acre, they are stuck on getting 35 per cent of the developed land. However, the state government and Cidco have indicated that 22.5 per cent of developed land can be provided to PAPs. Cidco has estimated that the market value of the 22.5 per cent developed land will be worth Rs 18 crore per hectare in 2017 against the present value of Rs 15 lakh per hectare. Besides, Cidco will develop a world class city for PAPs adjacent to the airport.