Pune's elusive Airport snippets

After six years, the site for the proposed Green Field International Airport for Pune at Khed Special Economic Zone, 45 kms from Pune city, has been finalised by the state government. This was decided in a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan held in New Delhi on Wednesday to review the key infrastructure projects in the state.
A statement issued on the Pune Airport said that given the traffic projections in Pune, there is an urgent need to build a new Green Field Airport.
"After discussing different options, it was decided that a new international airport would be developed for Pune at Khed. The Pune International Airport Project would be managed by the Airports Authority of India," the statement stated. If everything goes as planned, the airport will be ready in five years.
Senior officials who attended the meeting said the airport with two runways would need 1,268 hectares. "The project would be at the Khed SEZ and surrounding areas. While 850 hectares has already been acquired for the SEZ project, the remaining 418 hectares will have to be acquired and nearly 180 families would be affected. The rehabilitation package will be finalised by the district administration. The AAI has approved the site and stated that it is the most ''conducive site" as it was obstruction free.
"It is barren land and there are also no natural obstructions," said the official on the site proposal. The AAI in their master plan has stated that the required plot of land would measure 6.34 km by 2 km. The Maharashtra Airport Development Company would have to take the necessary permissions, including those from the environment department.
The Khed SEZ is a 76:24 joint venture between Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and Bharat Forge. While the airport needs 1,268 hectares, the size of the SEZ is 4,500 hectares.
The JV had earlier paid out Rs 289 crore to land holders for phase I at the rate of Rs 17 lakh a hectare. When chairman and managing director of Bharat Forge, who is in the US was contacted, he had stated that he would comments after his return to India. Senior officials said the land acquisition will have to be coordinated by the state government.
According to the officials, the site was recommended as the availability of acquired land is to the tune of 65 per cent, the location is free from obstruction and meets optimum airport requirements with two independent parallel runway operations. "The site does not appear to have any obstacles in its approach and take off path,'' said a government official.
Pune Divisional Commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh and MADC MD T Satre had reviewed the site. The site has been finalised after reviewing six sites. A detailed presentation of the site selecton was made on November 11 to the chief minister and deputy chief minister and they had given an in-principal approval for the proposed site.
The meeting in New Delhi convened under the PM had the Chief Minister and deputy chief minister and state government officials besides Sharad Pawar.

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