03 June 2020

Table of Contents for Project Focus

Interview- S.Vijaykumar (CIDCO)

We are confident of getting Phase-I of NMIA ready by 2019


A project of national importance, the Navi Mumbai International Airport, was planned to de-congest air traffic and growing transport requirements in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The project on completion is touted to be one of the world’s largest greenfield airports. S. VIJAYKUMAR, CGM (TRANSPORT & AIRPORT), CIDCO in an exclusive interaction with SHRIKANT RAO and VEENA KURUP spoke about the project and its current phase of development.


Give us a sense of your role in the Navi Mumbai International Airport project?

CIDCO forayed into the construction and development of airport projects in 2007 with the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA). The project being multi-disciplinary in nature has numerous elements in development. I have been actively involved in the planning and designing stages of the project and am heading the department today. Apart from NMIA project, I am also involved in planning, designing and development of NAINA (Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area) being developed near to the airport.


In a nutshell, tell us about the progress made in terms of project implementation?

The project has already obtained clearances from MoCA, Environmental and CRZ clearance from Ministry of Environment & Forest, Defence clearance from the Ministry of Defence. The project has achieved stage-1 forest and wildlife clearance and got permission from the Mumbai High Court for clearing the mangroves in the airport area. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has approved the route for shifting of EHVT lines. A committee constituted by DGCA has been appointed to work out the air space management and procedures for simultaneous and independent operations out of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai airports.

The bids which were floated in 2014, have received four applicants – GMR Airports, a consortium of Hiranandani Group, MIA Infrastructure and Mumbai International Airports Pvt Ltd (MIAL). We are expecting to finalise a concessionaire by October or November. Actual ground work of the project by the concessionaire is expected to commence by March 2016.

The first stage of construction will involve development of one runway, one apron, one taxiway, partial terminal building (in modules). Apart from these, we have also floated bids for EPC development – which involves flattening of the hillock which is presently blocking the runway area of the project.

The project is proposed to be developed in four phases and on completion will have an ultimate passenger capacity of 60 MPPA (million passengers per annum). Phase-I of the project is expected to meet a passenger throughout of 10 MPPA, and will be extended to 25 MPPA in Phase-II, 45 MPPA in Phase-III and 60 MPPA in Phase-IV. The total project is worth about `15,000 crore, of which Phase-I and Phase-II in total is estimated to be around `9,500 crore.

The cost of pre-development works however is estimated to be `2,358 crore. NMIA on completion will be one of the world’s largest Greenfield international airports, and will offer world-class facilities for passengers, cargo, aircrafts and airline companies. Our aim is to develop NMIA as a functional world-class airport without compromising passenger comfort.


The Government recently announced the project to take off by 2019. How confident is CIDCO in meeting this deadline?

We are confident to kick start Phase-I of NMIA by 2019. This will involve opening of one runway, apron, taxiway and terminal building facility to accommodate 10 MPPA. CIDCO is also confident in resolving concerns like land acquisition and Stage 2 forest and environment clearance. Presently, about 75 per cent of land is under CIDCO’s possession, 25 per cent still needs to be acquired from PAPs (Project Affected Persons). However, we have now put forth a fast process mechanism to resolve these concerns as well wherein a ‘land for land model’ is being put forth to the PAPs. About 22.5 per cent of the land will be offered to the PAPs and will be rehabilitated to a modern township ‘Pushpak Nagar’ which is being developed near the airport.


Has the project derived any inspiration from international airport projects – in terms of design, structural outlook, infrastructure facilities etc? Are you also planning to take up airport development as one of your key operational areas?

Several world airports have been studied We have stCIDCO has a strong engineering and research and development background. The present scenario of Navi Mumbai as an attractive hub – for commercial, residential or retail spaces – proves our ability in city planning and developments. CIDCO has immensely contributed to transforming the transport network in the Navi Mumbai region. NMIA though is our first project in the airport segment. We have conducted numerous studies and research on various international as well as national projects on similar lines. Our ambition is to create an airport with parallel runways and creative facilities with effective transport connectivity. Time sensitivity is a major issue in the airline business, due to which transport networks play a crucial role in the development of airport projects. We are in talks with NHAI, and even the state government to find ways and means to expand transport connectivity to the NMIA project region. We will be definitely interested in taking up airport development projects in the coming years. However, we are presently focused on developing and fully completing the NMIA project.


Tell us about the transport connectivity at NMIA region and what are the proposed initiatives to benefit the project?

The project site is presently accessible by road through the four lane National Highway (NH 4B) from the east and four lane major arterial concrete road – Aamra Marg from the west. Connectivity to the airport is also available through the existing suburban rail lines in the vicinity. In addition, initiatives are already on to expand the transport networks for providing a direct access to the airport. Few of such major road projects are – expansion of the Aamra Marg, which is to be widened to 8 lanes with service lanes on either side, National Highway (NH) 4B which is to be widened to 8 lanes and the widening of Sion-Panvel Expressway to 10 lanes. NMIA is also expected to benefit from the projects like multi-modal corridor (Vasai-Alibaug), Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) and the New Transit Corridors (metro and suburban rail).


Tell us about critical challenges being faced by NMIA project and the strategies planned to overcome these concerns?

The project needs to clear two stages of forest and environment clearances. Though we have already achieved Stage-I clearance on the project, Stage-II is still pending. Gaining this approval might require some time. Another factor is to address the physical obstacle of hillock existing in the runway area of the project. However, CIDCO has already floated tenders to invite EPC contractors to flatten this hill. Moreover the hillock area is already considered as a quarrying zone and this has helped in reducing the height. After flattening the project site will have a reclamation area of 8 m above sea level. The other crucial concern is R&R settlement, wherein we have to relocate 3500 families from this region. We have already started the process and the relocated residents will be allotted with plots at the Pushpak Nagar township being developed near the airport. We expect the R&R concerns to be fully resolved in the next six months.


Tell us about the green initiatives planned in the project development?

Green is a major thrust being upheld by CIDCO in all its initiatives. The measures taken by CIDCO to maintain and enhance the natural environment in the airport vicinity involves development of 245 Ha Mangrove park/bio-diversity zone on Waghivali island along with the regeneration of lush green mangroves in an area of 310 ha at Kamothe and 60 ha at Moha Creek which is being proposed for preserving the ecological balance of the project area. In addition, a large water body to the north of the site is retained.


The project’s development has today shot up realty prices in the Navi Mumbai region. What is CIDCO’s approach to regulate land prices?

Yes, the project has brought up the cost of land and real estate properties being developed in the region. Though the soaring property prices are beyond CIDCO’s control, we have focused ourselves on auctioning land at compatible rates. CIDCO also plans to proactively participate in mass housing initiatives. Every year, CIDCO plans to develop at least one project in the affordable housing bracket. Addressing the housing concerns, especially to make the properties affordable to common man is of crucial importance, as the issue if not taken up could contribute to slum encroachments.


Tell us about NAINA and its current status of development?

We had observed that beyond Panvel there is no planned city or effective urban region. We hence conducted numerous studies, especially on the development of the airport and its impact on the surrounding regions and residents. The study highlighted the need to develop regions at least in the distance of up to 50 km from the airport site. Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (NAINA) is an extension of the airport project. CIDCO is the Special Planning Authority to develop NAINA. The region spans across an area of about 600 sq km, of which the developable land is only 50 per cent i.e. 300 sq km. NAINA is being developed as a self-contained city and is planned on the Smart City concept. NAINA will also create a positive impact on the Navi Mumbai airport project as it will give a positive impression on the tourists and visitors being flown into the state due its structural and aesthetic appeal.

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