Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the construction of one terminal building and a runway of the much-awaited Navi Mumbai international airport will be completed by next year end.
The airport will be built in two phases, he said in the state Assembly while replying to supplementaries put up by Jayant Patil (of the NCP) to the main question raised by Prithviraj Chavan (of the Congress).
As a part of the first phase, one terminal building of the airport and runway will be completed by December 2019, Fadnavis said.
The terminal building will have the capacity to handle 50 lakh passengers, he said, adding that the entire project would be completed in two or two-and-a half years.
A few members in the House, during a debate on the issue, stressed on the need to decongest the existing Mumbai airport, where on an average one plane takes off per minute.
They said the Navi Mumbai airport needs to be completed expeditiously in a time-bound manner.
Chavan raised the main question pertaining to fee for the development and transfer of land provided for the rehabilitation of those affected by the project.
In reply, the chief minister said a fee is levied only if the land given to the project-affected people is transferred to a third party for redevelopment.
If the project affected people develop the land, there is no transfer or development fee, he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last month laid the foundation stone for the first phase of the Rs 16,700-crore Navi Mumbai international airport, which will give a breather to the choked single-runway Mumbai airport.
The new airport will have two parallel runways, and will handle close to 80 flights an hour.
The Rs 16,700-crore Navi Mumbai airport was planned way back in 1997 as a secondary airport to meet the growing needs of Mumbai at an investment of Rs 3,000 crore.
The project was inordinately delayed due to various factors, including political indecision, issues pertaining to environmental clearances and the funding.
The City Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), which is developing the new airport along with the GVK Group, expects the first flight to take off in 2019.
Ten villages in Navi Mumbai have been affected by the proposed airport.
Till now, the Cidco has rehabilitated nearly 400 of the 3,500 affected families. Each family has been offered alternative plots, monetary compensation, construction aid, rent allowances and additional amenities in the Pushpak Nagar where they will be rehabilitated.