The much-awaited Navi Mumbai airport project has seen further escalation in costs — now running as high as R15,000 crore, more than three times of what was envisaged in 1998 — after being delayed primarily due to land acquisition issues.
A senior official of City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (Cidco), the nodal agency in charge of the airport development, said costs rose by R1,000 crore since FY14 mainly due to the movement of extra high-voltage (EVH) transmission lines underground.
The official, however, added that the first phase of the project, work on which will begin by July 2016, is expected to be ready by 2019.
Meanwhile, Cidco is expected to incur a R2,700-crore investment on pre-development work on the site, which consists of levelling land, hill cutting, river diversion, etc. The work on the development of rehabilitation site Pushpaknagar is also slated to start by October.
“Cidco has already floated an e-tender to award the pre-development work. It will also give a soft loan of R2,700 crore to the winner of the process, which has to be duly returned to the nodal agency after 10 years without any interest costs,” said the Cidco official.
However, there could still be some delays with a few people affected by the project yet to give their consent to the government-approved rehabilitation project.
“Most of the land acquisition is complete. Cidco is yet to receive consent from a few families. These families will be given land amounting to about four times the value of PAP’s (project affected people’s) land under the the Centre-approved Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Bill,” the official said.
As many as seven key approvals have been granted by the civil aviation and environment ministries in the last 30 days.
Currently, Cidco is examining the request for qualification (RFQ) bids from four parties — GVK, GMR, a JV between Zurich Airport and Hiranandani Group, and a Tata Sons-led consortium.
“In a month’s time, we should be able to complete the evaluation and start preparing the request for proposal documents for parties. In another two months, we should have the commercial bid ready (from Cidco) with the necessary ministry of civil aviation approvals,” the Cidco official said.
“The interested parties will then have three months to make the bid. We expect to announce the winner by December,” he added.
The PAP, who had to give up their land for the airport project, have been allotted alternative land in three rehabilitation zones near the new airport site. While Pushpaknagar is set to house about 1,000 families, two other townships — Wahal and Vadghar, both located in the airport region — have been allotted to those who lost their houses to the project.
The senior Cidco official FE spoke to said that as many as seven key permissions, necessary for the development of the airport, had been obtained from the environment and civil aviation ministries during the last 30 days.