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Serious issues with Navi Mumbai airport project: Ramesh

New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) There are serious environmental issues with the Navi Mumbai airport project which need to be addressed, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said here Tuesday.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan met Ramesh Tuesday morning and sought speedy environment clearance for the project, which is likely to reduce the air traffic pressure on the Mumbai airport.

The state government has acquired land for the project but could not start construction work as environment clearance is pending.

‘I have had a word with the Maharashtra chief minister. It is not that we don’t want development but it should comply with environment laws,’ Ramesh told reporters after the meeting.

‘There are very serious environmental issues that had to be addressed, and we will definitely find solution,’ he added.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel last week blamed the environment ministry for delaying clearance to the project.

‘There are some environment-related issues … but the delay is too long and it is causing lot of damage to Mumbai’s future,’ Patel said.

The ministry would receive a detailed report on the project by Wednesday and the matter will come for consideration with the Environmental Appraisal Committee July 21-22, Ramesh said.

‘The environmental impact assessment report for the project was prepared by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. We have problems as the project leads to diversion of two rivers, loss of mangrove spread in 400 acres and blasting of an island,’ he said.

The Maharashtra coastal authority Monday gave its final go-ahead for the airport proposed at Panvel.

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