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PM to intervene in Navi airport deadlock
Mumbai, Sept 3, (IANS):
Published on 3 Sep. 2010 11:31 PM IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday assured a delegation of top Congress leaders that he would personally look into the issue of the proposed new international airport in Navi Mumbai which is entangled in a controversy over environmental issues.
The assurance was given to a delegation led by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, his cabinet colleagues and other senior leaders who held a meeting with the prime minister at his official residence in New Delhi in the morning, an official spokesperson said here.
Manmohan Singh pointed out that the central government was committed to the development of Mumbai into an international financial centre and would attempt to resolve the genuine problems coming in the way of development.
Asserting that Mumbai is of paramount importance to the country and the new airport was a necessity, the prime minister added that he would shortly convene a meeting of officials from the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Chavan later told mediapersons.
He added that the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai was currently handling 26 million passengers annually. This is estimated to grow up to 45 million passengers by 2015 and 119 million by 2031. The Ministry of Environment and Forest has objected to the proposal of an airport at Navi Mumbai on several grounds.
Chief among these are that the new airport would affect the flow of the rivers in the vicinity, lead to destruction of over 160 hectares of mangroves and require the flattening of a hill which stands in the proposed site near Panvel.
Chavan said he had held three meeting with Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh over this and expressed the state’s willingness to take all appropriate measures to protect the environment in order to go ahead with the project.
Besides Chavan, the delegation included state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre, Revenue Minister Narayan Rane, Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam and Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh.

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