Land identified for Pune international airport: Fadnavis

A declaration on Monday by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at the Maharashtra Investment Seminar in Mumbai has once again given the long-pending Pune International Airport (PIA) project some new momentum. The CM said, “We pushed ahead the Navi Mumbai airport and will also announce a new place for the Pune airport in a few months. Things are moving ahead on this front as the location for the airport has been fixed. This airport will be finished during my tenure as CM.“
While Fadnavis did not disclose the exact location, all indications point at the initially proposed land near Chakan.
An MADC officer said on condition of anonymity, “The demand for Navi Mumbai airport was raised after air traffic increased at Mumbai International Airport and its first phase will be operational by around 2019. Till such a time, there will be a need for a third airport approximately 150 kms away from existing international airports and Pune International Airport fits the bill. We are looking at the Chakan area as the most feasible option, but a final decision will be declared by the CM soon.“
Fadnavis only said, “We wish to disclose the details a little later because of the derailing tactics of parties with vested interests.“
The issue of a new airport for Pune has been stretched for more than 12 years now. Initially, land at Shiroli-Chandus and Pait-Koye, around 20 kms from the Chakan industrial belt, had been zeroed in on, but after the opposition of local farmers, the state conducted a feasibility survey at two other sites, including the Khed Special Economic Zone. However, this option also failed to take off, because 74 per cent of this land is under the ownership of the Kalyani Group, while the rest of the 26 per cent comes under the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).
When it was clear that the Kalyani Group was unwilling to give up its land in Khed for the PIA in February last year, the state government started exploring the earlier options around Chakan again, sources said.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Pune, Anil Shirole -who is also the chairman of the Pune Airport Advisory Committee (AAC) -said, “The CM will take a final decision in this matter. Work is going on through the district collector. We are also continuously following up. However the current political situation is unstable. So, if we disclose details suddenly, the project could get destabilised because the opposition will take up the cudgels. Everything will be announced at the right time, and the decision is definitely for the benefit of all citizens of Pune.“

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