The airport is likely to handle 10 million passengers annually
Geetanjali Minhas | February 19, 2018 | Mumbai
PM Narendra Modi on Sunday laid the foundation stone for Rs 16,700 crore Navi Mumbai International Airport. The first phase of the construction is expected to be completed by December 2019. The project is going to be implemented 21 years after it was first proposed. The airport is likely to handle 10 million passengers annually after completion and provide a breather to the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
Earlier planned as at an investment of Rs 3,000Cr ,the project was inordinately delayed due to political indecision, issues of environmental clearances, rehabilitation of surrounding villages and funding.
“Though the aviation sector is growing fast, aviation infrastructure is lagging behind. Our aim is to increase the speed of work, transform the sector making it more affordable,” PM Modi said.
Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao, union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, and GVK Reddy of the GVK Group which is building the airport in association with state-run infra development agency Cidco in a 74:26 equity structure were also present.
“I believe the airport will be operational on time. Though Cidco has been claiming that the first phase with 10 million passenger capacity would be ready by 2019, junior aviation minister had said the work would not be over before the next five years" said Modi.
Blaming previous governments for not harnessing the growth potential of aviation sector and not having a policy in place to support the growing demand, Modi said, “No one earlier realised the growth potential this sector. There was no policy in place for this sector, which we have brought in. Aviation will also boost the tourism sector in the country" he said.
He also said that the Navi Mumbai airport is one of the many projects worth over Rs 10 trillion (Rs 10 lakh crore) which were stuck and his government has provided funds and it is now progressing.
Modi added that the government is transforming the aviation sector and focusing on providing connectivity and making air travel affordable. “Our aviation sector is growing tremendously. This makes quality infrastructure in the aviation sector important. Our government brought an aviation policy that is transforming the sector.”
He said the sector is growing so fast that in the past one year alone as many as 900 planes were booked by various airlines, which is exactly double the present fleet of 450 planes in the country.
Modi also inaugurated the fourth container terminal at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port.
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