New airport in Navi Mumbai only: Praful Patel

Briefly interacting with media persons here, Patel said there is no suitable alternative site available for the new airport except the one at Navi Mumbai.

He said that while his ministry would consider the environmental issues, there was not much scope for changing the design of the planned airport though he had suggested to the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) that it examine the issue.
"However, we do not have any other suitable alternate site for the new airport so it will come up at Navi Mumbai," he said.

The proposed airport has been embroiled in controversy following strong objections raised to the project site by union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh.
Among other things, the environment ministry is opposed to the destruction of a large area of mangroves, diversion of two rivers in the area and the flattening of a hillock to make way for the runway.

The issue is being examined in detail by an expert appraisal committee (EAC) set up by the ministry which is expected to hold another meeting in Navi Mumbai Sep 22.
Last fortnight, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan led a high-level delegation to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and impress upon him the need for the new airport at Navi Mumbai.

The prime minister assured the delegation that he would personally look into the matter.

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