• Pre-devpt works at Navi Mumbai airport site enter final stretch

    The last tranche of pre-development works for the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) — in this case, major actions like flattening a hill and diverting a river to create a level ground for the runways and terminals — is in the final stretch.

    Two city infrastructure companies are in the race for the Rs 545-crore tender for the project and the board of Cidco, the nodal agency for the execution of the major infrastructure facility, is likely to finalize the bid on February 23.

    The design of the recourse canal for the Ulwe river and guidelines for diverting it have been provided by IIT-Bombay and the Central Water and Power Research Station that is based in Pune.

    Thanks to the location of the airport, when it is ready — the chief minister has said that the first flight will take off in 2019 — flyers can count on a pleasing view taking off or touching down. Two rivers, the Gadhi on the north and the Ulwe on the south, flank the two east-west parallel runways.

    A mangrove park coming up on a small island off the Gadhi as it falls into the Panvel creek and the non-fruit-bearing trees — so as not to attract birds — being planted along the rivers promises to bring green cheer to passengers.

    There will be vast stretches of natural spaces, which will be a sea change from the present terminal blighted by the concrete swell and slums of Santacruz.

    Both the rivers are seasonal. Gadhi is a spill from the Dehrang dam, fed by the rain water from Matheran hills, and the Ulwe originates from another hill further south of the airport. It currently flows across the core area of the airport into the Panvel creek.

    As part of the pre-development works, the river will be diverted through a recourse channel parallel to the runway on the south side and it will eventually flow into the Moha creek.

    The hill that is being flattened occupies a chunk of the western side of the airport core area. It will be cut till 8m above sea level and the debris will be used to level the runway area to that level.

    The high flood line in the area is 4.5metres and so the airport is being kept at a higher level. Reggie Bush Authentic Jersey

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