The Project Monitoring and Implementation Committee (PMIC), on Wednesday, approved the GVK-led Mumbai International Airport’s (MIAL) financial bid to construct the Navi Mumbai International Airport. Headed by Sumit Malik, Maharashtra’s chief secretary, the committee also recommended MIAL’s bid to the state Cabinet for its final nod. Once this is done, the City and Industrial and Development Corporation (CIDCO), the nodal agency for the airport development, can issue a letter of intent (LoI) to MIAL. The award of the LoI will be an important step in taking the project forward, which has been dogged by inordinate delays since its conception about two decades ago. MIAL had submitted its bid in February, offering 12.6% in revenue share to CIDCO. The only other bidder was GMR. Bhushan Gagrani, vice chairman and managing director, CIDCO, told Fe that the pre-development work had already begun at the airport site. He said, “We will be spending Rs 2,000 crore in this financial year itself on pre-development works”.
Even as the project affected persons (PAP) have disrupted work at the site over the last few days, Gagrani added that the first runway is expected to be operational in three-and-a-half years’ time, i.e., mid-2021. He said, “The agitations and disruptions have all been factored in. None of the PAPs are opposed to the project. They have a few conditions which can be discussed and we will address their concerns satisfactorily.” The project will be carried out on a public-private partnership (PPP) model. CIDCO will incur pre-development work costs. The pre-development work contract has been given to Gayatri Projects. Rajiv Reddy, vice president, operations, Gayatri Projects, told Fe the company expects to complete all the pre-development work in about two years’ time. He said, “We may even complete it before two years. It depends on other factors as well.”
Meanwhile, at the end of this month, CIDCO will offer three plots of land in an auction in prime areas, within a 15-km radius from the airport, to hotel owners/developers, in an effort to attract global hoteliers. Two of the plots are off an arterial highway that links to the Mumbai-Pune expressway while a third land parcel is in Belapur. Sources said Indian hotel majors such as The Oberoi Group, Indian Hotels (Taj Group), ITC, K Raheja Group and Ambassador Hotel have shown interest in establishing five-star properties in the area but CIDCO is also keen to attract foreign hotel chains such as Hyatt Hotels and others.