New airport site under wraps
PUNE: Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar announced on Monday that the state government had finalised a fresh location for a new international airport for Pune, but refused to disclose the location, stating that he did not want opposition to it at this stage of the proposal.
Speaking to media persons on the sidelines of a series of meetings in Council Hall here, Pawar said, "Notwithstanding the proposed international airport in Navi Mumbai, Pune needs its own international airport," adding that chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had on Saturday assured him of adequate flow of funds for the project.
He hinted at the new location, saying it would be convenient for people in the neighbouring districts of Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur, Ahmednagar and Beed.
Pawar noted that the Chakan-Rajgurunagar industrial belt, the earlier location for the international airport, met with strong opposition by local people. Hence, the state government had zeroed in on a new location which would be "less opposed".
According to the Maharashtra Airport Development Company Ltd (MADC) the state government had earlier decided to develop a new greenfield airport near Rajgurunagar, 35 km north-west of Pune city, where MADC was acquiring 8,000 acres at a cost of Rs 1,200 crore.
This airport was proposed to be developed as a full-fledged international airport over 30 years, to handle an estimated 20 million passengers per year. The estimated cost of the airport, including land acquisition and commercial development, was to the order of Rs 7,000 crore.