Mumbai’s proposed fourth airport at Navi Mumbai, essential for future traffic, is in trouble. Huge increases in proposed compensation to landowners have raised the project cost to Rs 14,000 crore, almost five times the initial estimate.
So, Maharashtra is now considering an alternative site at Madh Island, on land reclaimed from the sea. Dutch consultancy firm Royal Haskoning DHV estimates that this offshore airport will cost only Rs 3,000 crore if it is built to a height of 1.5 metres, bunded and equipped with giant pumps to combat flooding during storms. Alternatively, the entire airport can be raised to a safe 7-8 metres, for Rs 6,000 crore.
It will take three years to get all clearances, but this is more than justified by the reduced cost, by avoiding displacement of 17 villages at the Navi Mumbai site, and by having guaranteed space for expansion (through further reclamation from the sea) when needed. More info