Raigad (Maharashtra): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his aim is to make people wearing 'hawai-chappal' fly in a 'hawai-jahaz' as he laid the foundation stone for the Rs 16,000 crore Navi Mumbai International Airport.
“Aviation sector worldwide is moving very fast... we cannot afford to lag. Since 70 years, there was no aviation policy in India, which we have implemented recently to provide all-round connectivity to the remotest corners of India at affordable rates," Modi said at the ceremony.
He said that the aviation sector in India is poised for a huge growth in the coming years, and this was reflected in the orders for over 900 aircraft by Indian airlines during the last one year. Presently, there are a total of around 450 aircraft operating in the country, but that will be more than tripled with over 900 new aircraft to be deployed over the next few years in the country, he said.
"We want people wearing 'hawai-chappal' to be able to fly in a 'hawai-jahaz'... the aviation sector has huge potential of giving over three-and-half times returns as from investment of Rs 100, we can get Rs 350 in a period of time by boosting trade and commerce, movement of people, tourism and all-round development," he said.
The PM also inaugurated the country's largest container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), built at a cost of Rs 4,719 crore. Maharashtra Governor CV Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, and Ramdas Athawale, state ministers and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.
Referring to the development of ports, the Sagarmala Project, and terrestrial projects in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, Modi said the country needs world-class infrastructure for progress. "We are working on 'port-led' development and not merely ports development, and identified over a 100 waterways in India for transport which will be cost-effective and eco-friendly," he said.
He painted a futuristic picture of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai over the next few years with aircraft taking off from the NMIA, cars zooming along the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, connectivity by high-speed Metro Railway network and the proposed gigantic statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj coming up in the Arabian Sea off Malabar Hill.
Stressing the need for top infrastructure projects, he rued that there were many projects that were launched or inaugurated but then abandoned and existed merely on paper for over two-three decades. He said that it would end now as he has initiated the Pragati scheme by which all such projects were brought out of files, discussed, revived and many are on the path of implementation across India.
India's first Greenfield Airport project, NMIA will be the second international aviation hub for Mumbai, presently served by the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, which has almost reached saturation point.
It is being constructed by the GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd (GVKPIL) in collaboration with the City & Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), the nodal authority of Maharashtra to oversee the project implementation.
The NMIA will be constructed in the PPP mode on 1,160 hectares on the mainland in Navi Mumbai, across the Mumbai harbour, with the advantage of the upcoming Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, a Special Economic Zone and other major infrastructure developments coming up.
The JNPT's Fourth Container Terminal (FCT)'s Phase I, here, was completed in a record time at a cost of Rs 4,719 crore, will double its existing capacity and is expected to boost container trade and logistics in a big way.
The FCT will add capacity of 2.4 million (24 lakh) containers per annum in the first phase and after completion of the second phase in 2022, the capacity will be quadrupled to a whopping 100 lakh containers per year, at a cost of Rs.7,915 crore, said Gadkari.
The terminal will be able to dock mother vessels, handle the biggest containers ships from a quay length of one km, handle three container ships simultaneously with sufficient yard space, and cranes which can reach 22 rows wide or more.
It will be linked to the dedicated road access and a rail freight corridor and will receive around 350 containers per rake besides provision for storing 1,600 refrigerated (reefer) containers for perishables, agriculture and horticulture produce.
The rail facilities will be the largest in India with the only on-dock Dedicated Freight Corridor compliant facility in the country, capable of handling 1.5-km long, 360 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) container trains on completion of the DFC, said Gadkari.
(With inputs from agencies)