Navi Mumbai airport set for smooth takeoff

Written by Shubhra Tandon | Rhik Kundu | Mumbai | Updated: Nov 13 2013, 05:39am hrs
City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), the nodal agency for the Navi Mumbai International Airport project, is expected to float a Request for Qualification (RFQ) for the construction of the airport by next month, a government official said on Tuesday, a day after the state government reached an agreement with the affected parties of the project.

We expect to float RFQ by mid-December, subject to the approvals of the civil aviation ministry, Sanjay Bhatia, vice chairman and managing director, CIDCO said, adding, The ministry has assured us that it would approve the RFQ by then.

The first phase of the Rs 14,574-crore airport project, which was first put on paper 27 years ago, is now expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

CIDCO expects the airport to have annual passenger carrying capacity of 10 million after completion of the first phase. However, consultants in know of the development said the capacity would be limited to 5-8 million passengers initially.

The airport coming up on the eastern side of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is expected to carry 60 million passengers annually. Once fully completed, it will provide a much-needed breather to the existing Mumbai airport, which is land-locked with slums and does not have scope for future expansion.

On Monday, one of the major hurdles before the project was cleared as the five-year-long logjam over compensation to the 5,000 families affected by the project was finally resolved. The state government and the project affected parties agreed on the government's offer of 22.5% developed land for every hectare of land acquired.

The deal includes shares in the new company that will be formed for undertaking the development of the airport, totaling 2% of the equity in the company. It also includes alternate land, three times the size of their current residence, along with Rs 1,000 per sq ft as construction cost and job guarantees for their children.

The families affected by the project will be given rehabilitation plots in a proposed 170 hectares new township called Pushpak Nagar, situated close to the new airport.

"We are at present working on getting the principal agreement letters from the project affected persons, said Bhatia. The allotment letters will be handed out to them in the next 6- 18 months.

CIDCO plans to float tenders to develop Pushpak Nagar in the next 6-18 months. This will be for developing roads and infrastructure of the proposed township.

The nodal agency is also planning to float other tenders for the reclamation works, breaking down of hill and filling of swamps to build the airport in the next 30-60 days.

A private partner for the public-private partnership (PPP) project will also be zeroed in the next 18 months, said Bhatia. The Hyderabad-based GVK group, which operates the Mumbai International Airport, holds the first right of refusal for the development of the proposed airport at Navi Mumbai.

However, If GVKs bid falls short of the highest bid by 10% or less, it will have the right to revise its offer to match the top bid to operate the airport.

Several infrastructure companies like Larsen & Toubro and Reliance Infrastructure may also bid for the project, said a person familiar with the development.

FE couldn't independently verify with Larsen & Toubro and Reliance Infrastructure on this.