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Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, on September 17, 2021, said that the ongoing work on the new international airport in Navi Mumbai should be completed by 2024. Pawar also stated that GVK Group, the company building the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA), is financially sound. “I do not see that they (GVK) will face any problem. We have been given the target of 2024 for airport completion. We will be reviewing the work periodically,” Pawar told the media.
Although nearly 23 years have passed since the idea to build a second airport in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) was mooted, agencies responsible for building the Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited (NMIAL) have failed to start the real work on account of legal, environmental and land-related hurdles. Now, fresh money troubles might cause further strain on the project, which has already seen cost escalations since projections were first made with regard to funding (for Phase-I, costs have escalated 50% since as against 2013 projections to nearly Rs 136 billion from Rs 90 billion). How so?
In 2018, GVK-led MIAL, the concessionaire in the special purpose vehicle NMIAL, which had in 2017 won the bid to develop the project, had tied up with embattled YES Bank to finance Phase-I and Phase-II of the Navi Mumbai airport. MIAL now has to look for alternative sources to fund the development work under the two phases, the projected cost of which is pegged at Rs 12,000 crore. Work on Phase-I was likely to start by the end of 2020 after years of delays caused by various issues.
Considering the entire land where the proposed airport would be built falls under the coastal zone regulations (CRZ), which don’t allow construction activity on land under its purview, legal and environmental hurdles caused major delays in start of the work initially. More complications came with regard to land acquisition and rehabilitation of displaced families even as authorities struggled to accomplish daunting pre-construction tasks such as diversion of the Ulwe River and channelising of the Ghadi River, raising the ground level to 8.5 metre and laying underground power cables.
The inordinate delay in its completion notwithstanding, the NMIAL is likely to significantly change the region’s property market dynamics once the project sees the light of the day.
|Project cost||Rs 160 billion (as per 2012-13 estimates)|
|Completion timeline||2022 (Phase-I); 2031 (Phase-IV)|
|Operation commencement||2023 (Phase-I)|
|Passenger capacity||10 million initially; 60 million upon full completion|
|Land requirement||2,268 hectare|
|Equity holding||MIAL 74%-CIDCO 26%|
|Flight handling capacity||80 flights per hour|
GVK awards a contract for construction to L&T Engineering and Construction
Feb: PM Narendra Modi presides over the ground-breaking ceremony
March: London-based Zaha Hadid Architects appointed to design Terminal 1 and ATC Tower
Feb: GVK-led MIAL wins the bid to develop the airport
April: Environment ministry gives clearance to carry out pre-development work for the airport
June: Pre-developmental work for the project starts
Environment ministry gives stage-2 forest and wildlife clearance for the project
CIDCO invites tenders for requests for qualification
Defence ministry gives go-ahead to the project
CIDCO appointed nodal agency for the project
Union Cabinet gives in-principle approval to project development report
Central aviation ministry sets up a panel to find a site to develop a second airport in the MMR
Upon completion, the NMIAL would not only ease the burden on Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) ─ the single-runway airport in India’s financial capital which accounts for over 25% of the entire air traffic in India ─ but also give a major boost to Navi Mumbai’ realty, where housing sales have seen a downwards movement year after year.
Despite being a hotbed of affordable realty lying among scenic beauty, Navi Mumbai realty hasn’t been able to get the attention expected to receive when plans were first made to create a city parallel to the country’s commercial nerve centre Mumbai, during the 1970s, when it became clear the space-starved Maximum City was on the verge of a population explosion.
As against 16,787 units sold during 2017, only 15,533 homes were sold in the 25 key localities of Navi Mumbai in 2019, shows PropTiger.com data. On the other hand, over 34,000 housing units were lying unsold in markets across Navi Mumbai.
A brand-new airport would positively impact the housing market in Navi Mumbai by way of improving the area’s commercial value, primarily by generating employment opportunities. Once operations start, the NMIAL would create job opportunities for as many as four lakh people. This working population would buy and rent homes in nearby areas, pushing the demand for rental and residential realty in Navi Mumbai.
Once the Navi Mumbai Metro becomes operational (likely to happen by August 2020), demand for property in this area would increase further, resulting in an increase in values. Similarly, the Mumbai Trans Harbor Bridge, which will significantly reduce the commute time from Navi Mumbai (Nhava Sheva) to South Mumbai (Sewri), will act as a booster for the realty of the independent city, which was ranked second in the government’s ease of living index in 2018.
|Locality||Price per square foot|
Note: Rankings are based on sales numbers in 2019
Where is the location for Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited (NMIAL)?
The NMIAL is located in the Kopra-Panvel area.
When will the NMIAL start operations?
Operation under phase-1 of the project is likely to start in 2023.
When will work on the NMIAL start?
Work on phase-1 of the project is likely to start by the end of 2020.
When will work on the NMIAL be completed?
Work on phase-1 of the project is likely to be completed in 2023.
How many families are impacted by the airport?
An estimated 3,500 families across 10 villages are impacted by the airport project.
What is the estimated cost of Navi Mumbai airport?
As per government estimates in 2013, it would require Rs 160 billion to complete the project.
What would be the passenger capacity at NMIAL?
The fully constructed airport will handle 60 million passengers in a year.