Saturday, October 9, 2010

Red Tapism at its best: Navi Mumbai Airport

Very few infrastructure projects in India have been completed on time. In recent times, the project which is being widely discussed and debated in media circles is none other than Navi Mumbai International airport. The proxy war between Civil Aviation ministry and Environment ministry has continuously leads to modification and re-modification of the proposed design of the airport. The airport, which was first proposed in 1980s to decongest the ever growing traffic in Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport Mumbai, has been in the state of limbo ever since. Opposition parties want the government to shift the proposed airport from Navi Mumbai to Rewas or Kalyan which will give the airport the scope to expand in the future. Maharashtra Government argues this proposition on the logic that the drive from the current location takes just 40 min drive to enter geographic limits of Mumbai while others locations are atleast 50 km away from Mumbai.

Who is to be blamed for the delay? Some say CIDCO needs to be blamed for planning without studying airport’s impact on the environment. Some blame the environmentalists and NGOs for always trying to oppose development without the understanding the ground realities and necessities. Few sceptics blame the Centre saying that it has always given preference to Delhi at the cost of Mumbai.

Whatever may be the real reason, the problems lies in the system itself. The Bureaucratic attitude has always been the one of the cause for hampering the development. There is no single window to submit grievances or get clearances for the project. Change in government also meant change in the criteria to obtain permissions. Big egos in governments have always played their part in delay. The ministers and bureaucrats in the government need to realise that the good infrastructure is necessary for the development of country. If they believe that any particular project may cause social or environmental damage, they should act accordingly rather than just sitting on the decisions which would in turn delay the implementation of alternatives.

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