The Maharashtra state urban development department, City Industrial Development Corporation and Louis Berger, consultants for Navi Mumbai airport, have jointly worked out a formula to construct the international airport without diverting Gadhi river. Officials of Louis Berger and Cidco held a meeting on Monday in the office of urban development principal secretary T C Benjamin, to work out a formula to save the river. One of the main objections of the Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh was the diversion of the Gadhi river.
Cidco had already taken a decision to reduce the distance between the runways from 1.8 km to 1.5 km. “On Monday, we decided to line up the banks of Gadhi river instead of diverting it. The operation is known as channel trenching of the river. It is done to give right protection for banks. By trenching the river, diversion can be averted. At the same time, this will not affect the airport’s parking capacity, which will have 101 aircraft,” said Benjamin. In the last meeting of experts in the union ministry, the members were very keen that rivers should not be diverted at all.
The expert team of MOEF had also expressed willingness to visit the site. A senior official of the Union civil aviation department said the MoEF team was only objecting to the Cidco plan without checking the ground scene. The MoEF team will visit the site after mid-October.